The politics of physicians

I love this kind of stuff. It’s been reported elsewhere, but I can’t resist. “An Analysis of Campaign Contributions to Federal Elections, 1991 Through 2012“:

Importance: Few current data are available regarding the political behavior of American physicians as the number of female physicians has increased and the number of solo practitioners has decreased.

Objective: To analyze campaign contributions that physicians made from the 1991 to 1992 through the 2011 to 2012 election cycles to Republican and Democratic candidates in presidential and congressional races and to partisan organizations, including party committees and super political action committees (Super PACs).

Design, Setting, and Participants: We explored partisan differences in physician contributions by sex, for-profit vs nonprofit practice setting, and specialty using multiple regression analysis. We studied the relation between the variation in the mean annual income across specialties and the mean percentage of physicians within each specialty contributing to Republicans.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Differences in contributions to Republicans and Democrats, for all physicians and for subgroups.

Let’s hit the high notes. Physician contributions to campaigns went from $20 million in 1991-92 to almost $190 million in 2011-12. The percentage of physicians who contributed went from 2.6% to 9.4%. That’s amazing in and of itself.

But – and I found this fascinating – the percentage contributing to Republicans has decreased over time. In fact, in both the 2007-8 and 2011-12 elections, more physicians contributed to Democratic campaigns than Republican.


When people assume that all doctors oppose the ACA, this is the kind of thing to keep in mind.

Further, there are huge differences by gender. About 52% of male physicians who contributed gave to Republican candidates, versus the 76% of female physicians who contributed who gave to Democratic candidates.


Finally, there was a statistically significant relationship between earning more money and donating to Republicans. I leave all of you to consider these factors without comment.


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