This Real Clear Politics article finds some very interesting nuggets like:

One reason young people get involved in politics might be loneliness. In a nationally representative survey conducted by the American Enterprise Institute, 18- to 35-year-olds who are lonely and socially active (it is possible to be both) choose to volunteer for political organizations and campaigns at seven times the rate of their peers who are not lonely (22% vs. 3%). Conversely, socially active young adults who are not lonely choose to volunteer for faith-based organizations at six times the rate as their lonely peers (24% vs. 4%).

While the article gives some information to infer as to which party affiliation the "lonely" fall into, it, or the underlying AEI study, doesn't explicitly break that down.

Is there any other study that explores the party affiliation of lonely people? What are the breakdowns?

  • 3
    The RCP article does state that: "Partisanship plays no role in this phenomenon. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, if you are young and socially active, your loneliness level is a better predictor than your political ideology of whether you will choose to get involved in politics instead of some other community-based activity." – divibisan Oct 2 '19 at 15:21
  • @divibisan Yep, but it doesn't address magnitude. Wondering specifically if x%/100-x% are dem/repub. Or x% of Dems are lonely and y% of repubs are lonely, something like that. – user9790 Oct 2 '19 at 15:24
  • Comments deleted. Please don't use comments to answer the question or discuss personality traits of voters which are not subject of the question. – Philipp Oct 2 '19 at 16:15

This is from a recent paper that has a single citation insofar in Google Scholar, so don't take it as the ultimate word on the issue, but it found that

using a nationally representative data set with information about communities, social networks, and individual-level variables, this paper examines social connectedness and political behavior. Those who are more socially isolated, it is found, are neither more conservative nor liberal on any particular political issues, but clearly participate in politics less than individuals who are well connected to those around them. Finally, while individual political ideology is not correlated with isolation, the contextual influence of the local environment on individual preferences is correlated with social connectedness. When compared with well connected citizens, individuals who are more isolated are less likely to have their vote choices influenced by those around them. Individual social connectedness conditions the effect of contextual social influence.


There are, however, significant differences when it comes to participatory political behavior: socially disconnected individuals are much less likely to participate in politics through voting, campaign donations, or talking about politics with others.

What is most notable about these data is that participation in political activities appears to vary more with social connectedness than political attitudes. Within core behavior, only turnout appears to change (and grow) with network size; partisanship and ideology do not. Support for – or opposition to – various political positions does not generally appear to vary greatly by level of social connection. In contrast, participation in politics appears to vary significantly across levels of social connection. For instance, while only 24% of individuals who reported no or only one important connection tried to influence someone else’s vote, a full 62% of individuals who listed five important connections attempted to influence another’s vote.

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From that graph, it's possible that with a larger sample there might be a statistically significant effect of disconnectedness with ideology, but the effect size is going to be small.

So it doesn't look like there's much to said here, at least in the US:

  • social disconnectedness didn't correlate with ideology in a significant way

  • those more socially isolated were however less likely to follow the ideology of their few social contacts

  • they are also less likely to be politically active, both in a conventional sense (voting etc.) but also in the private interactions of those with whom they do have contacts with, i.e. they don't try to act much as political influencers in private either.

  • Interesting, thanks. The same political behavior types were in the other study too. eg lack of voting even though active politically. Great job. – user9790 Oct 8 '19 at 19:42

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