The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has commissioned a survey that found that gamers are more politically engaged than most Americans. The survey explored political attitudes in general, assessing political leanings and positions on key issues. The study was conducted by Ipsos, with 4,147 game players surveyed through an online questionnaire. All reported playing video games at least 3-4 hours a week.
The results? More than 80% of gamers say they anticipate voting in 2016, compared to 75% of non-gamers. In practice, 79% of gamers voted in the 2012 election, while only 69% of the general public did. Political affiliations tended toward conservative, with 48% of those surveyed identifying themselves as conservatives and 38% as liberals (the rest were other). Democrats vs. Republican/Tea Party both came in at 38%, while 24% labeled themselves independents.
As far as specific issues go, energy and environment came out on top:
“What is so striking about this research is how deeply mainstreamed video games have become in our culture,” says 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.”
It’s worth pointing out that we don’t know how representative the sample was–online questionnaires tend to net a specific group of users, and folks “who play games at least 3-4 hours a week” cuts out a fair amount of otherwise self-proclaimed gamers who don’t have time to play as much as they’d like (i.e. people with young children, people getting advanced degrees, people in crunch making video games). I know I certainly didn’t get any email about a survey.
I’d be most interested in finding out how these particular views and identifying labels match up with other demographics—people between the ages of 18 and 49, white people, men, etc., as well as the demographic breakdown of the survey takers.
If it turns out that only young white men were surveyed, for instance—perhaps because they’re more likely to identify themselves as gamers—then we have a problem, since we know that people who play video games actually make up a diverse group.