Political scientists have spent years trying to analyse the multitude of different factors which affect people’s political affiliations.  In fact, many of the most powerful variables which form our political identities in adulthood are established years before we are even allowed to fill in a ballot.  For example, many studies have shown a strong correlation between individual’s political identities and that of their parents.  Other well-documented correlations which seem to have a strong effect on our politics include religion, gender and ethnicity, the region where we live as well as household income.
The Study
Many research studies (such as Andrew Gelman in 2007) have demonstrated a strong link between a person’s gross income level and which party they choose to vote for at the ballot box.  Previous analysis has focused on how individual’s political affiliations will generally become more right-wing throughout their life as their income increases and they benefit more from fiscally conservative policies.  However a new study which was conducted by Professor Andrew Oswald of Warwick University in England and Professor NattavudhPowdthavee of Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics in Australia seems to suggest that the process is not necessarily a gradual one at all.  In fact, the results of the study suggest that a substantial windfall will change many people’s political preferencesalmost immediately.  
Using longitudinal data this one of a kind study took a large sample of British lottery winners, comparing them before and after their lottery wins.  
In order to test actual political belief (since some parties are more difficult to classify as “left” or “right”-wing) the researchers surveyed their opinions on a number of divisive political issues.  These topics rangedfrom different forms of taxationto the value of welfare benefits.  They found that that there was a statistically significant trend towards amongst lottery winnersto supporting more conservative policies after their wins.  The more a player won, the stronger their political support moved to the right.  In fact, the answers of 18% of lottery winners over £200,000 (about $312,000) indicated that that their political views had changed drastically, almost immediately following their win.  
Powdthavee explains “We are not sure exactly what goes on inside people’s brains but it seems that having money causes people to favour conservative right-wing ideas. Humans are creatures of flexible ethics.”  The study also showed that people who won smaller prizes under £200,000 did not seem to be affected and that female respondent’s political values changed less than male respondents.  Unfortunately the study was not able to track jackpot winners to see the effect that winning enormous sums of 100 million or more had on people.  
The study found that there seemed to be strong correlation between the size of a lottery win and the amount which respondent’s political values tilted towards conservative fiscal values.  This included the belief that “ordinary people already get a fair share of society’s wealth” and therefore do not deserve any portion of their winnings in taxes or other forms of wealth redistribution.  It also found that this transition was less pronounced in women than men.  The research study concluded that there is a strong correlation between our political views and our total money, even if it is a windfall and not gradually accrued over time.  The researchers suggest that despite what some people like to believe it seems many of our political views may be driven by our own self-interest rather than personal ethics.