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« Weekend update: Where I'll be this Fall | Main | WSMD? JA!: Curiosity, age, and political polarization »

Weekend update: "Show one, show all"--policy preference & political knowledge dataset posted

A reader asked if he could have access to the underlying data in  "yesterday's"™ post on age, political knowledge, and policy preferences.  I figured there might be others who could derive utility from them as well.  So if you are one of those persons, you can get access to the data here.

Enjoy! Feel free to use for any purpose, but please credit CCP if you do. 

And for sure let me know if you detect any glitches etc. in any of the files.

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Reader Comments (12)

So this seems to me to be consistent with a drum I've been banging on pretty much as soon as I showed up in these here parts - emphasis added to underline that drum:

What drives affective polarization in American politics? One common argument is that Democrats and Republicans are deeply polarized today because they are psychologically different—motivated by diametrically opposed and clashing worldviews. This paper argues that the same psychological motivation—authoritarianism—is positively related to partisan extremism among both Republicans and Democrats. Across four studies, this paper shows that authoritarianism is associated with strong partisanship and heightened affective polarization among both Republicans and Democrats. Thus, strong Republicans and Democrats are psychologically similar, at least with respect to authoritarianism. As authoritarianism provides an indicator of underlying needs to belong, these findings support a view of mass polarization as nonsubstantive and group-centric, not driven by competing ideological values or clashing psychological worldviews.

"...nonsubstantive and group centric...not driven by competing ideological values or clashing psychological worldviews..."

I could swear I've read that somewhere before: :-)

It's nice to know that at least there's some evidence that I'm not completely off my rocker.

Jonathan - if you're reading...any thoughts on how the symmetry vs. asymmetry discussion comes into play here?

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

Another challenge to asymmetry. Thoughts?

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


Both articles are paywalled, so I'll have to guess what they might say.

In the first, I would like to know how the author operationalizes authoritarianism. For example, might a combination of a tendency towards altruistic 3rd-party punishment plus virtue signalling count as authoritarianism? This combo might seem like RWA. Although, perhaps the distinction isn't so important.

BTW: As for RWA itself - there's evidence that it is genetic (and that SDO is not):

The question then becomes, how would RWA people self sort into political ideologies? I think there have been more attributes associated with the left that would repel RWA folks - such as a preference for multiculturalism and egalitarianism and a disdain for traditionalism. However, that does not mean that someone with RWA could not fit in on the left. They may find that the closeness of altruistic 3rd-party punishment plus virtue signalling to RWA is sufficient for their comfort.

Also, moralizing authority is one of the binding moral foundations - but for authoritarians to always trivially prefer the right, they would also need to prefer the other binding foundations: in-group loyalty and purity/sanctity. But the foundations test out as independent, so it makes sense that there are some that are authoritarian but not in-groupers and not puritanical - maybe even anti those. Hence they have no intrinsically clear political side. Yet, being authoritarian, they might not like being moderates either (because of the lack of a clear group identity, especially as the left and right become increasingly polarized). They could go either way.

Also, the left is perceived by some as winning the culture wars - with RWAs, all else being equal, preferring the perceived winning side.

Where does this leave the asymmetry argument? It makes it sound non-falsifiable in many ways. Or at least very hard to falsify. My own interest in the underlying traits is not to determine who ends up where based on those traits, but instead how based on their traits one can understand, appreciate, and communicate with them effectively. It would also help to know what behaviors are not essential traits, and so may not be stable across time and circumstance. It would make life easier if I could quickly and accurately identify someone's traits, of course. So I would prefer that overt identification would correlate well with traits. But, life is sometimes harder than it should be.

As for the second article, "the key paradox about the psychology of right-wing ideology: how right-wing ideology can function to reduce insecurity while people on the right still have higher levels of insecurity." doesn't seem to me like a paradox at all. It's like wondering why one finds so many hungry people attracted to foods that don't satisfy: satisfaction may be the "off switch", but it isn't the attractor. So if one wants to sell lots, the ideal combo is high attraction, low satisfaction : junk food. Hence, the most stable pairing is hungry people with junk food. Additive drugs also provide the same combo - only more so (but with an unfortunately more pronounced deleterious impact on the customer base).

Before NiV and Ecoute get on my case for such an unglamorous metaphor - a similar false paradox likely exists on the left as well, although probably not around security. Anytime there's a distinction between attraction and satisfaction, this possibility exists.

August 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Thanks Jonathan -

Will take some time tonight to try to understand your comment. May respond. In the meantime, you might find this interesting.

I'm kind of surprised (pleasantly) that Haidt didn't fall into the "conservatives are victims at Google, and Google is stifling free speech" camp. I may have to rethink Haidt a bit.

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua


A personal anecdote on this. When I was a junior researcher at a large company, a senior researcher asked me my opinion on which of the recent crop of interns I thought was good enough to fill a position he had in his group. I named one that I thought stood out - a woman. His response was "but women aren't as good at math as men....". I recall just staring back blankly, probably slack-jawed, unable to compose a coherent response. I later noticed that he didn't end up hiring any interns, but instead recruited a male junior researcher from another group (like myself) to fill that position. Also, I'm pretty sure there were no women in his group, and never were any to my knowledge - although certainly not a rarity in those days. I realized he might have been using my reaction to litmus test me mental-jiu-jitsu-style for that position (and requisite ideology), and I failed. Now this was all quite a while ago - so attitudes change, and such caveats.

But, when the Google thing hit, my first thought was "Oh - that guy again...". Obviously, I can't determine with any degree of certainty if Damore is the moral equivalent of what I thought that old senior researcher was. Still, I suspect that some women in Google or considering employment there probably had a similar reaction - not to the content of Damore's argument, but to the possible man-behind-the-mask that would make such an argument. A pure truth-sayer with no agenda, or not?

August 16, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

link drop:

August 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

link drop:

August 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Interesting, in that for whatever evidence there might be that legacy media, or fox News/MSNBC or what (cross-ideology) politicians (like AL Gore) influence belief development, it may be, at least partially, obsolete.

“People are more willing to share an article than read it,” study co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement. “This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

August 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

This seems to be a type of evolution. People who read through stuff before sending the links can't possibly compete with those that don't. Quantity defeats quality.

Does this mean the world is actually in thrall to those dopey editors that dream up pun-infested article titles? Oh - no - you can't see the title through the short link without clicking. Whew - scared myself for a moment. So, it really is anarchy, not dopey editors. Much better.

August 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

So, here's the exact opposite of that. I'm following links from an article I'm reading, and hit a link to an article intriguingly titled "Critical Science Literacy - What Citizens and Journalists Need to Know to Make Sense of Science". And, it's paywalled.

August 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan -

I often read abstracts only, w/o reading the article - even if it is paywalled. Or perhaps the abstract plus conclusion/discussion, and hopefully a limitations section (something that I wish there were a whole lot more of).

I guess in a sense, that's not all that different.

This following article just underlines even more the "evolutionary" aspect of opinion formation...perhaps...

Today, 62% of Americans say they get their news from social media, and primarily from Facebook, even though an American Press Institute study finds people are least likely to trust Facebook "a great deal" compared to all other social platforms. Facebook has become such a dominant part of news discovery and distribution that 10% of respondents for a Pew survey last month said they believed Facebook was the news source of articles they read on Facebook, not the news outlets themselves. The same problem exists on Twitter. A Columbia University study found that Americans share 60% of news on Twitter without reading the articles linked to, which is problematic considering that a recent study by Oxford Internet Institute (OII) found that nearly half of political news content that's tweeted is fake. Moreover, nearly a quarter of Americans admit to sharing fake news on Facebook, and more than half of those people say they do so knowingly.

My bold. But that's fascinating. So many people don't bother to check it out in any detail, and think that it's fake, but promote it anyway because it advances their ideological agenda.

I've always taken as an underlying assumption that deep down people care more about finding "truth" than in promoting something fake. And I also think that there is a bit of a tension between "finding truth" and "being right" which can often be goals that wind up being in opposition.

But maybe I need to make more room for a third underlying force than what I've done before - a drive to defend identity. I mean I've always thought that is an important driver, but felt that it kind of lies on top of the others - as kind of more superficial goal. IOW, my main goals are to find truth and to reaffirm my identity by showing that my version of the "truth" is "right." And I might be selective about how I do that... and downplay some "truth" and highlight other "truth." And so defending identity is important, but kind of sits on top of a desire for an identity to be as as a "truth seeker." And so promoting "fake news" despite knowing that it's "fake" should be more of an unconscious action, where my identity drive convinces me that something that something "fake" is something that's "true." But maybe not. In fact, maybe the hierarchy is the exact opposite. Maybe the goal of defending identity rather starkly defines my drive for "truth."

And I'm not one for grand schemes about large-scale changes in society over time (I think that such changes are very easy to see where they don't actually exist), but I have to wonder if there's something evolutionary going on there, as well. Is it really true that we've elected as president someone who disregards "truth" more than our previous presidents did? Is my impression that Trump is a bigger liar than Obama or any other president (even Reagan) just a product of my own biases? Hmmmm. I'm somewhat dubious, but I do actually think that Trump is a bigger liar with less concern about any kind of logical consistency. And maybe it's meaningful that such a man has been elected president. Maybe it is reflective of a larger societal trend...

If so, I hope that it's a blip.

From the article:

Political institutions make it hard to be trusted: Earlier this month, a conservative group backing a Virginia gubernatorial candidate altered the headline of a local newspaper to misrepresent the truth about an opposing candidate's position, causing the post to go viral. An indictment of former Congressman Steve Stockman, R-Texas, revealed that a major conservative political donor wrote a check for over $450,000 to to support mailing a fake newspaper to voters, in an effort to spread fake news about the candidate's primary opponent, Sen. John Cornyn. The left is no better. Elon University media professor and researcher John Albright found that the left-leaning media watchdog group Media Matters continuously linked to fake news sources when writing oppositional stories about the right. Media Matters says it has recently adopted a "no follow" practice to ensure readers that when they have linked to fake news or extremist sites in the past, it has been to expose and debunk them, not to promote them.

But that stuff seems to me to be pretty much business as usual. The question is whether new technology is having a "magnification effect," on the tendency we have to promote ideology over "truth." And whether Trump's election is a reflection of that phenomenon.

August 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

sorry...even if it isn't paywalled....

August 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

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