A new poll released yesterday by Poll Position shows some surpising preferences for an email provider, depending on your political leanings. Democrats prefer using Gmail, with 27% considering it to be the best. Only 19% of Republicans named Gmail as the best. Republicans liked AOL the best, with 20%. And get this: Only 5% of Dems prefer AOL.

Why? What’s going on here? We may never know, but here is one theory.

A large portion of Republicans are religious and culturally conservative, and believe in creationism versus evolution. This rejection of evolution might be associated with a disbelief in many other areas of science. For another example, a large portion of Republicans do not believe in climate change or global warming. The study of many areas of science, including evolution and climate is deeply complex. The more we learn, the less we know. So, scientists understand complex technical systems, and that includes software programs.

Gmail is widely regarded as technically superior (more complex) to most web-based email providers, compared to AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail. AOL especially is an ESP with simpler tools.

Types of email software

There are three main ways to get your email. One is on the web using an email service provider (“ESP”). That’s the type covered by this poll: Yahoo, AOL, and Gmail. Setting aside mobile apps, these methods require you to login at a website. The second type is an email program like Outlook and Thunderbird that run on your PC or Mac. The third is an app on your phone such as K9 Mail on Android or Mail.app for iPhone.

Strangely, Poll Position did not list Hotmail as a poll choice, so it is apparently included in the “Another e-mail provider” category. According to neowin.net in August 2009, Hotmail was the second largest email provider. Big miss, Poll Position.

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