A Tall Tale?

This column originally appeared in The Observer magazine/Guardian online

One way to measure your personality is simply to measure your height. So, compared to other people of your age and gender, would you say that you are short, tall, or about average?

It’s not particularly surprising that taller men (though not taller women) score more highly on measures of dominance and independence. Less well known is that, for reasons that are not yet understood, taller people (both men and women) tend to be more suspicious. But perhaps most surprisingly of all, a recent study found a link between height and politics. This study looked back to the 2005 general election (Labour’s most recent victory), in which the Tories took around 30% of the popular vote overall. Figures obtained from a follow-up questionnaire found that this jumped to around 35% among the very tall, but fell to below 20% amongst the shortest voters. In fact, for every extra inch in height, support for the Conservatives grew by 0.6%.

In fact, this link isn’t quite as surprising as it might at first appear. It has long been known that taller people tend to earn more, and you will not be at all surprised to learn that higher earners are more likely to vote Conservative: The same study found that, on average, every extra £1000 on your salary makes you 2-3% more likely to be a Tory voter.

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