(HealthDay News) — The political alignment of physicians in the United States has shifted from predominantly Republican to predominantly Democrat, based in part on the larger number of women physicians and smaller percentage of physicians practicing solo or in small practices, according to research published online June 2 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Adam Bonica, PhD, of Stanford University in California, and colleagues analyzed campaign contributions made by physicians between 1991–1992 and 2011–2012 to Democratic and Republican political candidates, party committees, and political action committees.

The researchers found that, over the study period, campaign contributions made by physicians increased from $20 million contributed by 2.6% of physicians to $189 million contributed by 9.4% of physicians. At the end of the study, men physicians tended to contribute to Republicans more than women physicians (52.3 vs. 23.6%). Additionally, for-profit physicians out-contributed not-for-profit physicians (53.2 vs. 25.6%), and surgeons contributed more than pediatricians to Republican candidates and groups (70.2 vs. 22.1%). These gaps have increased over time.

“Bonica and colleagues provide for the first time, to our knowledge, a full description of the political campaign contributions of American physicians,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “Their rigorous analysis of campaign contributions for presidential and congressional elections over the past two decades shows how these contributions relate to the sex, specialty, income, and employment of each physician and how the political preferences of the profession have changed in recent years.”

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