Friday, December 31, 2010

And on what issue is the gap between Democrats and Republicans widest?

++Addition2++I was thinking of a comment Jason Malloy made on a post of Razib's a few years ago rather than something from Inductivist.

++Addition++
In the comments, an anonymous reader presents an alternative table measuring partisan differences in terms of standard deviations. Rather than comparing popular support in each party, it compares underlying attitudes towards each of the issues examined.

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Following up on the previous post in which we looked at the size of political divides on a host of issues, the same process is repeated here, based on partisan self-identification rather than political orientation. For consistency, the items are measured in a way that affirmation of the statement represents what is putatively thought to be the Democratic position. For contemporary relevance, all responses are from 2000 onward:


DemIndRepDif
Gov't should definitely provide healthcare for the sick66.563.036.230.3
Same-sex marriage should be legalized46.134.922.124.0
Military spending is too high35.028.711.923.1
Taxes on the rich are too low56.245.934.421.8
Outlaw capital punishment for murderers40.131.319.820.3
Gov't has an obligation to help blacks specifically26.014.57.518.5
Abortion should be legal in all circumstances47.636.331.016.6
Man evolved from other animals57.650.741.516.1
Homosexual relations are morally acceptable39.130.723.215.9
Police permits should be required for gun ownership86.482.972.314.1
Marijuana usage should be legalized40.835.826.913.9
Affirmative action for blacks does not hurt whites39.333.927.411.9
Attend religious services less than once a month54.962.144.810.1
Have never been married26.828.517.29.6
No belief in or uncertainty over the existence of God40.237.232.47.8
Prayer in public schools should be banned43.740.136.86.9
Assisted suicide allowed for those with terminal illnesses61.760.556.75.0
Immigrants pose no threat to English language69.567.665.73.8
Hispanic immigration should not be decreased57.454.754.52.9
Science does more good than harm60.348.163.7(3.4)

Even though the healthcare question was only asked in 2006, the political divide existed prior to the passage of Obamacare. I suspect the gap is even wider today.

Same-sex marriage is again shown to be among the day's most polarizing issues. As an aside, you will rarely hear major media sources referring to it as such, however, because the word is usually reserved for describing populist issues pushed by the right that the left doesn't like, such as tougher immigration enforcement. Consequently, it has negative connotations, and nothing relating to homosexuality is allowed to be negative. Taxation, defense spending, and capital punishment are also starkly defined by partisanship.

Most noticeable is that Democrat-Republican divides (averaging 13.5 points) are narrower than liberal-conservative divides (averaging 20.8 points) are. Specifically, as a group, liberals are considerably further to the left than Democrats are. The biggest differences show up on the gay issues, drug legalization, abortion, school prayer, assisted suicide and personal belief in God. Clearly there are many white Democrats (and a slew of NAMs) who, despite being in partisan alignment with SWPLs, are nonetheless the wrong kind of white people.

The levels of support among conservatives and Republicans are virtually identical on almost everything, the only marginal exceptions being on defense spending (conservatives are more likely to want to cut it than Republicans) and the legal right to assisted suicide (Republicans are slightly more inclined to the idea than are conservatives). But even on these two things, the conservative-Republican gap is not even half of what it is among liberals and Democrats on the issues listed above.

Despite the perceptions that Republicans and especially conservatives stand in opposition to scientific progress because of skepticism over evolution or lack of support for government funding of embryonic stem cell research, luddites are no more prevalent on the right than they are on the left. I recall Inductivist having shown that, excepting the aforementioned "hot button" issues, those on the right are as scientifically literate as those on the left, though I'm frustratingly unable to find that post at the moment (please point me to it in the comments if you're aware of what I'm recalling).

GSS variables used: ABANY, GRASS, HOMOSEX, PRAYER, HELPBLK, DISCAFF, MARHOMO, GUNLAW, TAXRICH, CAPPUN, ENGTHRTN, GOD, ATTEND, SUICIDE1, HARMGOOD, EVOLVED, MARITAL, SPARMS, LETINHSP, YEAR(2000-2008), PARTYID(0-2)(3)(4-6)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would re-order this list somewhat, using the method of thresholds instead of percentage differences.

Small percentage differences at the extremes can indicate larger differences in the underlying variable than larger differences in the middle.

For example, the difference between 95% and 99% is only 4 percentage points but indicate a 0.68 SD mean difference in the underlying attitude for the two populations. The difference between 62% and 58% is also 4 percentage points but indicates a much smaller difference (0.10 SD's) in the underlying attitude.

Here how the list would be re-ordered:

Gov't has an obligation to help blacks specifically: 0.8 Estimated SD's Apart
Military spending is too high: 0.79 Estimated SD's Apart
Gov't should definitely provide healthcare for the sick: 0.78 Estimated SD's Apart
Same-sex marriage should be legalized: 0.67 Estimated SD's Apart
Outlaw capital punishment for murderers: 0.6 Estimated SD's Apart
Taxes on the rich are too low: 0.56 Estimated SD's Apart
Police permits should be required for gun ownership: 0.51 Estimated SD's Apart
Homosexual relations are morally acceptable: 0.46 Estimated SD's Apart
Abortion should be legal in all circumstances: 0.44 Estimated SD's Apart
Man evolved from other animals: 0.41 Estimated SD's Apart
Marijuana usage should be legalized: 0.38 Estimated SD's Apart
Affirmative action for blacks does not hurt whites: 0.33 Estimated SD's Apart
Have never been married: 0.33 Estimated SD's Apart
Attend religious services less than once a month: 0.25 Estimated SD's Apart
No belief in or uncertainty over the existence of God: 0.21 Estimated SD's Apart
Prayer in public schools should be banned: 0.18 Estimated SD's Apart
Assisted suicide allowed for those with terminal illnesses: 0.13 Estimated SD's Apart
Immigrants pose no threat to English language: 0.11 Estimated SD's Apart
Hispanic immigration should not be decreased: 0.07 Estimated SD's Apart
Science does more good than harm: -0.09 Estimated SD's Apart


Why percentage differences are misleading:
http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/gap.htm

How to compute estimated standard deviation differences using the method of thresholds in Excel:
http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/excel.htm

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

Thanks, I've mentioned it in the body of the post.

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting to see how people follow the propaganda points of the political media. 20 plus years ago when Hillary was pushing for Universal Care the Republicans pushed the Single Payer Plan. Now liberal Obama took the Single Payer Plan and renamed it. The liberals now love it and the conservatives hate it. 20 years ago these views were reversed. This leads me to believe that people do not follow issues but group identity. It seems now that people are being forced to pledge alliance to one group or another. The marketing analogy I can see is Radio station formats. You have to be into Hip-Hop or Country or Rock. There is no opportunity for multiple views. However when I talk to people they say the listen to many different kinds of music. Which may be why radio music is dying. Which leads to the question, will rigid political affliation also die out?

Jason Malloy said...

"I recall Inductivist having shown that, excepting the aforementioned "hot button" issues, those on the right are as scientifically literate as those on the left, though I'm frustratingly unable to find that post at the moment"

You may be thinking of a comment I've repeated a few times since 2007. White Republicans, if anything, had higher IQs, were more ‘proscience’ in values, and did better on science questions than white Democrats.

Of course, I think you should update this with your own take.

Audacious Epigone said...

Jason,

Yes, that is it! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Over 72% of Republicans believe in requiring a permit for owning a gun??? Not CCW? just owning? Sorry I can't take it seriously