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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 (5)

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

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