Physicians in these 14 specialties more likely to vote Republican

While physicians are generally split 50/50 between the Democrat and Republican parties, partisanship is less evenly divided when looking at individual specialties. Data compiled by Yale researchers indicate some specialties lean heavily Democratic while others lean heavily Republican, reports The New York Times.

The researchers looked at two public data sets: One that listed every physician in the U.S. and one showing the party registration of every voter in 29 states.

They found about 46 percent of all physicians are registered as Republicans, but party lines fluctuated between specialties.

The following 14 medical specialties have higher-than average rates of Republican physicians: (Note: Percents reflect physicians holding Republican party registration.)

  1. Surgery — 67 percent
  2. Anesthesiology — 65 percent
  3. Urology — 62 percent
  4. ENT — 61 percent
  5. Radiology — 59 percent
  6. Ophthalmology — 57 percent
  7. Physical therapy/rehabilitation — 54 percent
  8. Dermatology — 53 percent
  9. Family medicine — 52 percent
  10. Emergency medicine — 51 percent
  11. Cardiology — 49 percent
  12. Gastroenterology — 49 percent
  13. Pulmonary — 48 percent
  14. Ob/Gyn — 47 percent

The following 10 medical specialties have lower-than average rates of Republican physicians: 

  1. Oncology — 43 percent
  2. Nephrology — 43 percent
  3. Pathology — 42 percent
  4. Internal medicine — 41 percent
  5. Neurology — 40 percent
  6. Endocrinology — 40 percent
  7. Geriatrics — 37 percent
  8. Pediatrics — 32 percent
  9. Psychiatry — 24 percent
  10. Infectious disease — 23 percent

This data is the first to directly measure the political leanings of a large sample of physicians — 34,532 in 29 states — across specialties.

One theory for these political clusters has to do with specialty salaries, according to the report. "The highest-paid doctors earn many times as much as those in the lower-paying specialties. The fields with higher average salaries tended to contain more doctors who were Republican, while the comparatively lower-paying fields were more popular among Democrats," according to the report. This hypothesis aligns with the broader trend of wealthier individuals leaning Republican.

Another theory is based on gender, as more women have become physicians, and they tend to enter certain specialties, according to the report. Just as women tend to lean Democrat generally, as women physicians gravitate to certain specialties (pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology and psychiatry), it may make those fields more blue, according to the report.

More articles on physicians:

Albany medical group CEO stresses 'urgency' for increased physician productivity following fiscal loss
Study: Physicians' political leanings influence treatment plans
The 3 Cs of physician engagement

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