The results of their study suggest that people who startle easily to loud noises or threatening images have a biological predisposition to adopt conservative political positions on issues like gun control, gay marriage, abortion and immigration. Greater sensitivity to stimuli leads to a more defensive stance on political issues.
This study comes from the University of Nebraska and was based on what researchers saw at the Democratic and Republican conventions. The Republicans were waving banners and were much more viseral than the Democrats. "I was quite struck by watching the conventions by the different tones" said John Hibbing, a political scientist at U of N at Lincoln. The researchers hedge their bets by saying that physiology is not the only factor in forming political views - and it is far from the most important factor.
Maybe we should be more open to those with very different political views. Maybe these politically different folks are not really stupid or irrational. Maybe they are just more predisposed to worry about risk. Maybe? Maybe....? Nah!
Author George Lakoff analyzes the unconscious and rhetorical worldviews of liberals and conservatives, discovering radically different but remarkably consistent conceptions of morality on both the left and right -- read it here: Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think.