It’s safe to say that our nation has been pretty politically divided in the past year; some of us fall to the right and some of us lean left. Well, according to new research, you can probably guess that weaker men are more likely to be socialists, and there’s a good chance that those with some serious gains are quite the opposite.

Not always, of course. But researchers at Brunel University in London analyzed 171 men, looking at their strength, bicep circumference, weight and height, and they found that smaller dudes supported things like redistributive taxation while bigger guys weren’t in favor of so many egalitarian social ideas. The authors stated that the men who looked stronger and tougher were the men who believed certain social groups should have power over others.

Dr. Michael Price, of the Brunel University, equated this to evolutionary psychology: “This is about our Stone Age brains in a modern society. Our minds evolved in environments where strength was a big determinant of success. If you find yourself in a body not threatened by other males, if you feel you can win competitions for status, then maybe you start thinking inequality is pretty good.”

Dr. Price also factored in the time each participant spent in the gym and found that the number of hours was also linked to having less egalitarian socioeconomic beliefs.

“We believe that this link between perceived formidability and egalitarianism could be explained in a number of ways,” he says. “It could be the result of men calibrating their egalitarianism to their own formidability. It could be the case that less egalitarian men strive harder to become muscular. Or there could be a third variable at play affecting both egalitarianism and muscularity.”

Of course this isn’t rational in modern society, he admits, as “a lot of guys who are phenomenally successful in modern societies would probably be nowhere near as successful in hunter/gatherer societies.”

This is not to say you should go around judging books by their covers, but it’s certainly food for thought.

Photo: iStock/martin-dm