Culture

ESA study finds gamers more politically active than American average

When you think of someone playing video games, you probably imagine some of your friends that stare at screens for hours on end in pure delight. You probably wouldn’t associate most gamers with being politically active but a new survey commissioned by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) would prove you wrong.

In a “first-of-its-kind survey” according to the company, the ESA “explored the political attitudes of video game players, providing a snapshot of their political leanings and positions on key issues.” The study found that more than 80% of gamers said they anticipate voting in 2016, compared to 75 percent of non-gamers. According to the same study 79% of gamers voted in the 2012 presidential election, compared to 69 percent of the general public. Now those votes aren’t proven, it’s based on the survey but it’s interesting conclusion if it proves to be true.

“100 million gamers will vote next year,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA, the trade association that represents the U.S. video game industry. “Gamers are engaged, informed and hold strong opinions on critical issues. From both sides of the aisle, and in every state across the country, they will influence the course of our nation’s future.”

The survey also stated that 48% of gamers identified themselves as conservatives and 38% as liberals; among political parties, 38% said they align with Democrats, 38% with Republicans/Tea Party, and 24% label themselves as independents.

“They’re smart, concerned and they vote,” said Michael Steele, former Lt. Governor of Maryland and chairman of the Republican National Committee. “For the first time we get an in-depth look into what gamers think about war and the economy; education and the environment. They say it’s about the game, this ESA survey tells us a lot about the gamers and how they could potentially reshape the political landscape in 2016.”

“What is so striking about this research is how deeply mainstreamed video games have become in our culture,” commented Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of NDN, a liberal think tank. “The views of gamers are as diverse as the nation itself, and there can be little doubt now that playing video games is a near universal activity at the very core now of the national experience in the U.S.”

Other notable findings include:

  • 76% said they believe humans play a role in climate change;
  • 67% said they support stronger investment in renewable energies such as solar and wind;
  • 61% said they support cutting existing programs to help alleviate budget concerns;
  • 41% reported being better off financially than they were eight years ago;
  • 61% said there should be a more equitable distribution of wealth in the U.S.;
  • 42% support government providing parents more educational choices by providing taxpayer-funded vouchers to help pay for private or religious schools;
  • 40% said the military should be used “as often as is needed to promote U.S. policies,” while another 40% said diplomatic solutions should be the aim of foreign policy.

The study, conducted by Ipsos, surveyed 4,147 video gamer players through an online questionnaire. Respondents were 18 or older and reported playing video games at least three to four hours per week.