Monday, April 30, 2012

Idaho's conservative conservatives

Following up with thoughts from the previous post, that the electoral tendencies of moderates are defined in large part by the political atmospheres of the states they live in doesn't necessarily mean the same holds true for their more ideologically committed cohorts. Conservatives are sparse in California, but the state still produces hard-liners like Tom McClintock and Brian Bilbray.

The following table ranks states by the percentages of their liberals who voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election. The states are colored according to their contemporary political profiles, with purple states representing those in which Obama's total vote share ranged between 46%-54%. Due to insufficient sample size, Utah is excluded:

StateObama %
1. District of Columbia98
2. Delaware95
3. Vermont94
3. Oregon94
5. Colorado93
5. Washington93
7. Illinois92
7. New Mexico92
7. New York92
7. Minnesota92
11. Hawaii91
11. Maryland91
11. California91
11. Florida91
11. Wisconsin91
11. Pennsylvania91
11. New Hampshire91
18. Massachusetts90
18. Connecticut90
18 Virginia90
18. Montana90
22. Rhode Island89
22. Iowa89
24. Michigan88
25. Nevada87
25. New Jersey87
25. Indiana87
25. North Carolina87
29. Maine86
29. Texas 86
29. Missouri86
32. Georgia85
33. Tennessee84
33. South Carolina84
35. Ohio 83
35. Kansas83
37. Idaho82
38. North Dakota81
38. Alaska81
38. Oklahoma81
41. South Dakota80
42. Nebraska78
43. Mississippi77
43. Louisiana77
43. Alabama77
43. Wyoming77
47. Arkansas76
48. Arizona75
49. Kentucky74
50. West Virginia71

The correlation between how a state voted and how its liberals voted is .79 (p = 0)--not quite as robust as for moderates, but still very strong for a measure like this. It's not just that blue states have relatively more liberals and fewer conservatives than red states do--blue state liberals also tend to be more liberal than red state liberals tend to be. Conversely, as the next table shows, red state conservatives are both more conservative and relatively more numerous than blue state conservatives are. Due to insufficient sample size, DC is excluded:

StateObama %
1. Hawaii41
2. Vermont33
3. Illinois29
3. New Mexico29
5. Massachusetts28
6. Connecticut27
7. Delaware25
8. Maryland24
9. California23
9. Rhode Island23
9. Maine23
12. Michigan22
12. Ohio22
12. Mississippi22
15. Florida21
15. Iowa21
15. Nevada21
15. New Jersey21
15. Texas21
15. Georgia21
21. Wisconsin20
22. Pennsylvania19
23. Colorado18
23. New York18
23. Virginia18
23. Louisiana18
27. New Hampshire17
27. Tennessee17
27. South Dakota17
27. Arizona17
31. Washington16
31. Indiana16
31. Missouri16
31. Alabama16
31. Arkansas16
36. Oregon15
36. Minnesota15
36. North Carolina15
36. North Dakota15
36. Kentucky 15
36. West Virginia15
42. South Carolina14
43. Nebraska13
44. Alaska12
45. Kansas11
46. Montana10
47. Oklahoma9
48. Utah9
49. Wyoming8
50. Idaho6

The correlation between how a state voted and how its conservatives voted is .81 (p = 0), almost identical to the liberal correlation and modestly weaker than the moderate one.

Parenthetically, the contemporary liberal/moderate/conservative trichotomy lacks nuance and is necessarily both historically and geographically disconnected. I get that. However, it has become part of the both the vernacular and the media lexicon in the US, and it works pretty well as a general framework for understanding and describing the political landscape of the country in a uncomplicated way. It satisfices.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Moderate is a moderate is a moderate?

Do liberals, moderates, and conservatives respectively vote Democratic, split, and Republican in roughly equal proportions across states, the difference being that the Wyoming breakdown is 14%/47%/39% while Vermont's is 32%/44%/24%? Or do Vermont's liberals, moderates, and conservatives all tend to be more liberal than Wyoming's liberals, moderates, and conservatives tend to be? To formulate an answer, let's ask the question "Is a moderate a moderate is a moderate in the US, or is the definition of 'moderate' contingent upon the political atmosphere said moderate exists in?"

The proceeding table ranks states by what percentages of their self-described moderates voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election. The states are colored according to their contemporary political profiles, with purple states representing those in which Obama's total vote share ranged between 46%-54%.

StateObama %
1. District of Columbia92
2. Hawaii75
3. Vermont69
4. New York68
5. Oregon67
5. California67
5. Delaware67
5. Illinois67
9. Rhode Island66
10. Washington65
11. Nevada64
11. Maryland64
13. North Carolina63
13. Colorado63
13. Iowa63
13. Wisconsin63
13. Michigan63
13. Maine63
13. Connecticut63
20. New Mexico62
21. Missouri61
21. Ohio61
23. Indiana60
23. New Hampshire60
25. Massachusetts59
26. South Carolina58
26. Georgia58
26. Virginia58
26. Minnesota58
26. Pennsylvania58
26. New Jersey58
32. Florida57
33. Montana56
34. Mississippi55
35. Kentucky53
35. Texas53
35. South Dakota53
38. Utah52
38. Arkansas52
38. Kansas52
38. Arizona52
38. North Dakota52
43. West Virginia51
44. Nebraska50
45. Alabama49
46. Idaho48
46. Tennessee48
48. Louisiana45
49. Alaska44
50. Oklahoma43
51. Wyoming40

The correlation between how a state voted and how its moderates voted is .93 (p = 0). That is, the relationship is nearly perfect, as a cursory glance at the table pretty clearly illustrates. As 2008 was a good year for Democrats, it's not surprising that a moderate majorities across most of the country went for him.

But the state-level differences are pronounced and predicted by the general political climate of those states to a significant degree. To some extent, moderates probably go with the flow. Put in another way, conditions 'on the ground' are more determinative of what a moderate is than Fox News and CNN definitions of "moderate" are. For an extreme example of this, consider that Wyoming's liberals were nearly three times as supportive of McCain as DC's moderates were.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gay bashing by race

We know from exit polling on California's Proposition 8 that blacks see gays as second-class citizens, but does this civic form of disenfranchisement also manifest itself in less genteel ways?!

FBI statistics offer an answer. The following table shows offender rates by race for designated hate crimes committed against homosexuals as a percentage of the white (including Hispanic) offender rate, so anything over 100% indicates a higher propensity for gay bashing than whites display and anything under 100% shows less of one:

American Indian66%

In the conception of many, the diversity tower starts with white women on the bottom floor and works its way to the top story where blacks reside. When it comes to special benefits conferred, this conception is pretty accurate. Yet when blacks and gays tussle, gays often win (figuratively speaking, of course--as these crime stats show, they don't actually get the better of a physical confrontation).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cop killing by race, gender

There are commonly held feelings ranging from mistrust to downright hatred of the police shared by many in the black community. The police, for their part, tend to spend a disproportionate (inordinate?) amount of time dealing with blacks because they're the ones who engage in a disproportionate amount of criminal activity. Cats go where the mice play.

Criminals are a formidable breed of mouse, though, and sometimes they kill the cats who are after them. The FBI's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) tracks the racial and sexual characteristics of perpetrators who feloniously killed law enforcement officers from 2001 through the end of 2010.

I wondered how much more (or less--I always keep an open mind!) likely blacks are to murder cops and other agents than whites are. Unfortunately, for reasons probably attributable to intentional obfuscation for anti-racist purposes, Hispanics are not broken out separately and consequently the vast majority of them are grouped in with whites, causing the white baseline to be more murderous than the non-Hispanic white baseline would be if it was identifiable. Curiously, when it comes to hate crime victimization (but not perpetration), data on Hispanics are tracked, however. But I digress.

Anyway, the proceeding table shows the rates of cop killing for non-whites relative to the white rate. In other words, a rate of 100% indicates cop killing that is exactly equal to the white rate; anything less than 100% indicates a lower rate of cop killing relative to whites and anything above it indicates a higher rate:

American Indian173%

The cop killing gender gap dwarfs the cop killing racial gap, though. Men are 4,957% more likely than women are to murder law enforcement agents.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oh, she sees just fine

What to make of this:
Blacks are more than twice as likely as nonblacks (72 to 32 percent) to believe that Mr. Zimmerman (who is white and Hispanic) is guilty of a crime in shooting Trayvon, according to an April 2-4 Gallup survey of 3,006 Americans.
... and this?:
In a landmark ruling, a North Carolina judge on Friday vacated the death penalty of a black man convicted of murder, saying prosecutors across the state had engaged in deliberate and systematic racial discrimination when striking black potential jurors in death penalty cases.
First and foremost, that justice is most certainly not colorblind.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Political news IQ

++Addition++See Steve's insights on the Pew results.


Expanding beyond the News IQ quizzes it periodically conducts, Pew Research recently released the results of what the organization calls the Political News IQ Quiz, which you can take here. I answered them all correctly, as I suspect the majority of readers of this blog and others like it will also do. Yet only 8% of the population fared as well, a reminder that the overwhelming majority of the American public is unaware of the basic layout of the political landscape, let alone plugged into the minutiae of committee memberships, legislative action, or how relevant Lochner v. New York is in the Supreme Court's consideration of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

Some points of interest from the results:

- Men fared better than women on every single question asked. Ho-hum, that's always the case when it comes to current events more distant than the dinner table or, at most, the local city council meeting. As has become its custom, Pew did not publish these results in the body of the actual report, but they can be accessed by users who finish the abbreviated online version of the quiz. Pew's acts of commission are honest and laudable. Acts of omission, on the other hand--well, Pew's still better than most, so I guess we have to take what we can get.

- On most items, age and political knowledge increase together. There are a few exceptions, though. Those aged 18-29 were more aware than older cohorts that the Democratic party is more favorably inclined towards spending cuts on defense, allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens, and expanding the privileges of homosexuals. These (especially the latter two--the first is more of a reflexive and rhetorically effective reaction to conservative calls for spending cuts) presage the direction the Democratic party will take in the future, away from concerns like punitive taxation of high income earners and creating laws favorable to labor organizations that the contemporary left doesn't care that much about, and will care even less about going forward.

- As Republicans have higher average IQs than Democrats do, and Democrats have higher average IQs than independents do, it isn't surprising that Republicans fared best, answering an average of 12.6 of the 17 full length quiz questions correctly. Democrats followed, with 11.4 correct. Independents took up the rear at 10.7 correctly answered questions. To SWPLs' eternal frustration, failing to break out results by race means that assessments by party affiliation are always going to make Republicans, members of the nation's de facto white party, look better than they do.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How four ninjas became three

A bit of innocent atrocity from my childhood, captured on VHS (back in the nineties, when people still did that sort of thing). I'm in the Bears t-shirt and shorts. Be forewarned, this video, particularly with the volume turned up, isn't for the squeamish:

Boys will be boys.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Black shoots unarmed Hispanic. Whatever, stuff happens. Now, justice for Travyon!

Given the utter lack of national media attention devoted to this story out of Phoenix, I'm not surprised to only be reading about it in the Steveosphere a week after it happened:
About 7:30 p.m., a 22-year-old man and his girlfriend ordered food at the Taco Bell drive-thru and were told to pull up while their order was prepared.

At the same time, Adkins stepped around a corner into the path of the vehicle and angry words were exchanged between he and the driver.

They got into an altercation and Adkins was shot once by the driver. He died at the scene.

The driver, a 22-year-old black male, called police but has not been arrested.

At first, the couple claimed that Adkins had a metal pipe that he swung at them -- but it turns out he was holding a dog leash with his yellow lab on the other end.

Family members want that driver arrested, but he's claiming self-defense.
As Blode explains, this case is quite similar to the Trayvon Martin one, except that in the Taco Bell tussle, the victim--a mentally-disabled 'white Hispanic' man, presumably of Mexican descent--appears to be less culpable than Martin was. While Martin allegedly broke Zimmerman's nose, subjugated him, and then pummeled a supine Zimmerman, it sounds like Adkins swung at and possibly pounded the shooter's car with his fist a few times before being shot. Arizona, like Florida, has a stand-your-ground-law on the books, and perhaps unlike the Martin case, it could conceivably turn out to be relevant here.

Despite (or, more cynically, because of) the potential racial angles the Phoenix shooting presents, the national media aren't running with it. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the New Black Panther Party are nowhere to be found. President Obama hasn't said a word.
As Steve Sailer soberly notes, in a huge country of over 300 million people, tragedies like this occur with much greater regularity than we'd like them to, and it's of course absurd to expect nationally known figures to descend on every crime scene braying righteously about the need for justice.

More interesting than the predictable indifference of the usual suspects, however, is the lack of grassroots outrage in the Phoenix case as compared to the Martin case. With the latter, we're seeing bounties being announced, cop cars being shot up, random whites being savagely attacked by blacks as a way, I guess, of avenging Martin's death, and public gatherings clamoring for the shooter to be shackled up or killed. In the former, the slain man's sister sounds pretty upset about the whole thing, but that's about it.

The contrasts between what has transpired in the wakes of the Phoenix and Sanford incidents highlight the differences between the cohesiveness, or lack thereof, of the black and Hispanic 'communities' in contemporary America. There are plenty of self-anointed Hispanic activists willing to spit out foam-flecked hysteria to a soliciting media organ, as a recent profile piece on Kris Kobach in my local paper demonstrated last weekend:
"He definitely is very focused on putting forth at the local and state level anti-immigrant proposals that seem to be progressively more punitive and more and more repressive," said Clarissa Martinez, director of immigration at the National Council of La Raza.

"From our perspective, it just seems he is more interested in pursuing the scorched-Earth, anti-immigrant tactics that he believes in than in the well-being -- economic or otherwise -- of the jurisdictions that follow his misguided lead on these issues," Martinez added.
But the people they claim to represent aren't much stirred by their war cries, if they even know who they are at all. The Pew Hispanic Center found that by more than a 2-to-1 margin, Hispanics in the US do not think of themselves as sharing a broad social culture with other Hispanics, but instead as being comprised of lots of different communities tracing back to their particular countries (or regions within those countries) of descent.

In contrast, every urban hip hop station evinces just how plugged in blacks are to the concerns and going-ons of the 'black community'. The black guy on the street knows who Juicy J, MLK, Barack Obama, and Taye Diggs are. Precious few blacks could identify any policy differences between Obama and Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic presidential nominating process, but no doubt existed in their minds as to who they had to support.

The Hispanic on the street probably can't do much better than Jennifer Lopez or maybe Cesar Chavez since the Cesar Chavez Boulevard trend has started picking up (though it has a long way to go before it attains Martin Luther King Boulevard infamy). As for voting, si, Democrat is berry good, if they bother voting at all.

I'm making some assumptions here, but the gist is that when black cultural kingpins say "jump", blacks around the country start hopping. When Hispanic activists say whatever it is that they say, Puerto Ricans in New York, Cubans in Florida, and Mexicans in California don't know they're speaking and don't make an effort to hear them. By persistently clamoring about the coming Hispanic electoral tidal wave and censuring Republican pols who say anything about border security, the media establishment is trying to get Hispanics to adopt the same kind of visceral tribalism blacks exhibit in the US, but up to this point it hasn't had much of an impact.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Political orientation and educational attainment

In a forthcoming post, I look separately at the influences of IQ and educational attainment on fertility. I wanted to do something similar with political orientation, so here it is.

The following tables show political orientation percentage distributions by educational attainment after roughly controlling for IQ. Respondents are broken up into five categories, each displayed in a separate table, in a way that approximates a normal distribution; Really Smarts (wordsum score of 9-10, comprising 13% of the population), Pretty Smarts (7-8, 26%), Normals (6, 22%), Pretty Dumbs (4-5, 27%), and Real Dumbs (0-3, 12%). To balance concerns for contemporary relevance with ample sample sizes (specifically among the highly educated, low wordsum-scoring respondents), all data are from 1990 onward. To allow enough time for educational pursuit, respondents are at least 28 years old.

First, those of most modest intelligence:

Real DumbsLibModCon
Less than HS31.935.632.3
High school25.939.135.1
Some college26.834.438.8

This bunch is pretty consistent across all education levels and a bit to the left of the general population (the total GSS pool is ~25% liberal, ~40% moderate, 35% conservative) with the exception of those at the post-graduate level, where the liberal bent is more pronounced.

Those pursuing doctoral degrees are substantially more left-leaning than their less educated cognitive cohorts all the way up the line. As the professorial class comes from the post-graduate contingent, it's not surprising that college academics are so liberal.

Working our way up that line:

Pretty DumbsLibModCon
Less than HS22.942.734.4
High school20.244.635.2
Some college21.244.034.8

There is a similar consistency up through the four-year college degree, albeit with a center-right lean instead of a center-left one. Again, at the post-graduate level, liberalism is much more prominent than it is at lower levels of educational attainment.

Among the average Joes:

Less than HS25.339.435.3
High school21.145.433.6
Some college22.839.737.4

Just about what would be expected of the middle. The graduate school liberal skew is the most modest here, although it is still detectable.

Moving into the second level of intelligence, educational distinctions become clearer:

Pretty SmartsLibModCon
Less than HS16.642.940.4
High school18.546.335.2
Some college22.438.639.1

Two-thirds of those with a bachelor's degree or higher come from the pretty smarts and really smarts even though together they constitute a bit less than 40% of the population. Among pretty smarts, the conservative segment doesn't move much one way or the other across the educational spectrum. The changes come among the liberal and moderate columns. As education increases, moderates become liberals. This is intuitive--those who become politically aware during their college years after having been apathetic before that emerge as liberals, but I doubt many committed conservatives shift markedly to the left while in college, especially given how widely the popular right media admonishes conservatives about academia's leftism today.

Finally, the cognitive elite:

Really SmartsLibModCon
Less than HS17.641.441.0
High school26.632.940.6
Some college32.525.841.8

Again, moderates give way to liberals as we move up the educational ladder, while the conservative contingent holds steady, except at the graduate level. Among the country's most intelligent and educated, moderates are predictably few and far between.

Parenthetically, the impetus for this was a post Razib put together that is a little overwhelming at first (but reading his description and realizing that the table's first section is for all respondents while subsequent sections are broken down as noted makes it comprehensible). Razib's been supportive of TAE and responsive to personal inquiries, even though I'm always vaguely aware that he could rip much of what I write about apart if he wanted to, like he's wont to do to other bloviaters.

How is he propitiated? He tips his hand a bit in said post, describing what he is doing with it:
Instead of talking and commenting I thought as an exercise I would go further, and also be precise about my methodology so that people could replicate it (hint: this is a chance for readers to follow up and figure something out on their own, instead of tossing out an opinion I don’t care about).
If lots of people smarter than myself were moved by his prodding, I'd be out of the job (and they'd be out of a lot free time) and we'd learn a ton in the process!

GSS variables used: YEAR(1990-2010), EDUC(0-11)(12)(13-15)(16-17)(18-20), WORDSUM(0-3)(4-5)(6)(7-8)(9-10), AGE(28-89)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Liberals marginally more intelligent than conservatives, who are considerably smarter than moderates

In response to Dennis Mangan's recent post discussing Satoshi Kanazawa's speculations as to why political liberals dominate Western institutions, I left the following comment. Rather than rehash it as a stand alone post, I'll just offer it again here. The body of Mangan's post offers fuller context if the line I excerpted from it is tough to comprehend:


the General Social Survey show that there's nearly an 11-point childhood IQ difference between those who identified (as adults) as "very conservative" and "very liberal", with a monotonic increase between the two.

Kanazawa isn't quite correct in this assertion (and I encourage those who can tolerate a clunky interface to verify as much for themselves). Mean wordsum scores for all white GSS respondents from the survey's inception to the present, by political orientation:

Extremely conservative -- 5.98
Conservative -- 6.35
Slightly conservative -- 6.51
Moderate -- 5.97
Slightly liberal -- 6.54
Liberal -- 6.55
Extremely liberal -- 6.57

Using a purely verbal test as a proxy measure of IQ has the effect of artificially inflating women's scores relative to men's. The effect is modest--women have a .15 point advantage over men on Wordsum--but when it comes to politics, where the gender divide is not insignificant, it shouldn't be discounted. The same, this time for men only:

Extremely conservative -- 5.98
Conservative -- 6.29
Slightly conservative -- 6.45
Moderate -- 5.72
Slightly liberal -- 6.39
Liberal -- 6.29
Extremely liberal -- 6.51

Those who describe as "extremely liberal" and "extremely conservative" together constitute just 5% of the total respondent pool. Cutting them out and looking at the remaining 95%, we see that liberals and conservatives are of about equal intelligence, with moderates coming in around 5 IQ points lower.

Of course, when it comes to dominating media institutions, we're looking at the right tail of the intelligence distribution, and those who describe as "extremely liberal" are going to cluster here more than people with other political outlooks will. Further, the Wordsum distribution is wider for liberals than it is for conservatives--liberals are more likely to score in the 0-2 and 9-10 ranges than conservatives are, while conservatives are more likely to score in the 3-8 range than liberals are. The standard deviation for white men's Wordsum scores, by political orientation (the larger the standard deviation, the more variance there is in scoring among those holding the political viewpoint):

Extremely conservative -- 2.05
Conservative -- 2.00
Slightly conservative -- 1.99
Moderate -- 2.01
Slightly liberal -- 2.19
Liberal -- 2.30
Extremely liberal -- 2.68

On so many dimensions, the political situation in the US has become one of the top and bottom in alliance against the middle.

GSS variables used: WORDSUM, RACE(1), SEX(1)(2), POLVIEWS

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Hispanics favor big, activist government

As the Hispanic tidal wave perpetually approaches election cycle after election cycle, always just about to crash upon the shoreline of US politics, establishment types repeatedly talk about the urgency with which Republicans need to Hispander or face electoral oblivion. This latest WSJ article is just the most recent incarnation of the phenomenon:
Congressional Republicans and Mitt Romney's presidential campaign are working to fashion proposals that could make up ground with Hispanic voters, concerned rhetoric on immigration from many in the party is turning away the increasingly powerful constituency.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) [what a great vice presidential candidate he would make!] is developing a scaled-back version of the Dream Act, which would allow people brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal status, but not citizenship, if they enroll in college or the military. Several Senate Republicans have signed on to bipartisan legislation aimed at broadening access to the legal immigrant visa system.

The Romney campaign is looking for new proposals that would show he backs legal immigration, trying to pivot from a primary campaign in which he has taken a tough line on assistance to those here illegally.
That there were ten non-Hispanic white voters for every one Hispanic voter in the 2008 Presidential election, and that swing states are less Hispanic than the country as a whole is are never mentioned in articles like these, of course. While this undue emphasis is annoying, though, it's the self-immolating idiocy of Republican pols that really goads me:
Many Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), argue that if the party could get past the immigration issue, it would be the natural home for many more Latino voters, who are often socially conservative and value entrepreneurship.
The mantra about Hispanic social conservatism (to the extent that it rests on any actual evidence at all) rests almost entirely on modestly stronger opposition to abortion among Hispanics than among non-Hispanics. Well, black opposition to abortion is similarly stronger than non-black opposition is. Maybe Graham has read Jeffrey Kuhner and plans to have the GOP steal black votes from Obama next!

The Pew Hispanic Center provides a dose of reality in a report on Hispanics in the US released earlier this week. The following table breaks down Hispanic and non-Hispanic responses to a dichotomous question on whether one would "rather have a small government providing fewer services or a bigger government providing more services":

Small gov'tBig gov'tDK/Refused

The non-Hispanic figure includes blacks, so the non-Hispanic white/Hispanic gap is even larger than the table makes it appear to be. Hispanics, who tend to be poorer than whites, are more likely to receive government benefits and less likely to pay for them than white Americans are, so it's hardly a surprise that they are more favorably inclined towards big government and the associated wealth transfers that come with it than whites are.

Some other interesting findings from the Pew report:

- Despite the push from above to rebrand Hispanics as "Latinos", actual Hispanics, er, Latinos, actually prefer the "Hispanic" descriptor by more than a 2-to-1 margin.

- Similarly, by a more than 2-to-1 margin, Hispanics (I'll defer to them and continue to employ this term rather than adopt SWPL's favored pet name) do not think of themselves as an umbrella ethnic group sharing a common culture. This is lost on media types and obtuse pols like Newt Gingrich, who were surprised to find that Cubans in Florida don't care much about illegal immigration from Mexico into the US' Southwest.

- Hispanics primarily think of themselves with regard to their country of origin. While 51% of Hispanics think of themselves in this way (as Mexicans, Cubans, Guatemalans, etc), 24% think of themselves as Hispanic/Latino. Only 21% think of themselves as Americans.

- A staggering 95% of Hispanics say it is either "very important" or "somewhat important" that future generations of Hispanics living in the US are able to speak Spanish. See, they're assimilating just like my German grandmother did when she schooled my mother, who of course schooled me, in the German language I speak so fluently today! Fortunately, 87% of Hispanics also assert that Hispanics in the US need to learn English to succeed here. Bilingualism for all!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The hard-line conservative majority

I know, I know, pointing out a leftward skew in the major media is old hat. Jaded as I am, though, I'm still occasionally surprised by just how blatant the bias can be. From a story this morning on former corporate sponsors dropping their memberships to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) under pressure from Color of Change (what a surprise!), testosterone-laden NPR correspondent Peter Overby reported:
Coca-Cola's announcement came hours after a civil rights group,, launched an online drive calling on Coca-Cola to stop underwriting the ALEC agenda on voter ID laws in several states.

It's part of a much broader campaign to spotlight companies that sell products to a public that might object to hard-line conservative policies such as stand your ground laws or requirements that voters show a photo ID at the polls.
I've not seen scientific polling data on "stand your ground" laws, but to describe the requirement that voters present photo identification when voting as "hard-line conservative" is to commit journalistic malpractice more severe than what occurs when ethno-nationalist parties across Europe are lazily and disingenuously amalgamated under the descriptor "far right". A Rasmussen poll from last year revealed that 75% of the American public supports the photo ID requirement.

Three in four Americans are hard-line conservatives? If only! A far more accurate approach would be to describe these policies as "populist", but, while every good SWPL is wary of populism, it doesn't quite cause weeping and gnashing of the teeth like "hard-line conservative" or "far right" does.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

That liberal won't hunt

OneSTDV's post in support of the idea of hunting led me to wonder about the political orientation of hunters. It has red-state written all over it, of course--NRA membership, male bonding, virility, self-reliance--so it comes as little surprise that hunters, as a group, lean conservative. But as the tagline captures this blog's raison d'etre, this must be quantified!

The following table breaks political orientation down among hunters (or families with hunters in them--those included in the "hunter" column are either themselves hunters or have spouses who hunt, constituting about 18% of the population) and the deli meat majority. For contemporary relevance, all data are from 2000 onward:

OrientationHuntersThe rest

The hunting gap is actually narrower than I expected it to be.

GSS variables used: YEAR(2000-2010), HUNT(1-3)(4), POLVIEWS(1-3)(4)(5-7)

Monday, April 02, 2012

Ranking The Simpsons seasons

++Addition++Steve expounds and adds a nice visual.


Those who've read this blog for awhile are probably aware of my affinity for The Simpsons. Like so many other fans of the show, I stopped making much of an effort to catch episodes from later seasons in the series. Well into the 2000s with family or friends who wanted to take one in, it would almost invariably be from the early- or mid-nineties, when the show was more a comedy on the follies of contemporary middle class suburbanites and less one offering political and cultural commentary on current events with silly single scene antics.

When I talk to other votaries about the series, sentiments approximating my own seem to be the rule, but The Simpsons is in its 23rd season now and continues to maintain impressive ratings, so there are plenty of people who find it worthwhile. I stopped watching TV when I graduated from a high school a decade ago (I don't even own one!), but if I still did, I'd probably be viewing new episodes each week with lower expectations than I had in the past.

The number of total viewers aside, I'm comfortable asserting that the show's golden age stretched from the early nineties into the latter part of that decade. Going through the tedious process of recording IMDB user ratings (the largest sample size I could find) for all 503 episodes up to Them, Robot (which is pretty entertaining, especially for those interested in speculations about the future of artificial intelligence and how humans will interact with it) and using these to compile full season averages on a 10 point scale, the following table ranks them from best to worst. The impetus for doing as much was my brother's opinion that seasons 3-9 were when the show was at its best, with the qualifier that nine is when the descent is first detectable and that he could refine that to seasons 3-8. He's a perspicacious kid:


My personal favorites are Lisa the Vegetarian ("You don't win friends with salad, you don't win friends with salad!"), They Saved Lisa's Brain ("Inspired by the most logical race in the galaxy, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once every seven years. For many of you this will mean much less breeding. For me, much much more."), and The Springfield Files ("Who thought a whale could be so heavy?") from seasons 7, 10, and 8, respectively. Who cares, though, about that? The show's top eight, with the season in parentheses (there's a six-way tie for the ninth spot):

1. Who Shot Mr. Burns?, Part 1 (6) and You Only Move Twice (8)
3. Homer's Enemy (8)