Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's a culture war: Discovering that income simply does not influence voting among immigrants (at least among non-whites) led me to wonder how much it influences native-born Americans. Put simply, it doesn't matter for them either. Looking at 2000 voting pattern, income had no predictive power once race was controlled. I hunted around for what is predictive--sex, education, marital status, number of children--and everything was weak except for race and a number of indicators of religious orientation: being Christian, religious, or fundamentalist. The simplest way for me to create polar opposites is to use black versus white along with fundamentalist versus no religion:

Percent who voted for Clinton in 1996

Fundamentalist whites 11.6
Blacks with no religion 96.6

Let me say it again: income predicts nothing. Pat Buchanan is right: it's a culture war. It ain't the rich against the poor. Immigrants pick up on this and regardless of income, if they're non-white or irreligious, they generally join up with the--what does O'Reilly call them--secular progressives. Those who loathe what white fundamentalists cherish: traditional Christianity, old-time values, and freedom.
To find a Republican Senator more liberal than McCain, you have to go to the--yuck--Northeast: The American Thinker analyzes numbers from the American Conservative Union to show that there are only three current Republican Senators more liberal than McCain--Collins (R-ME) Snowe (R-ME) and Specter (R-ME).
Two reasons--to start with--to oppose McCain: I plan to link to everything I come across showing that McCain is way too liberal for a conservative to vote for. Robert Novak documents that: 1) McCain thinks Alito is too conservative, and 2) he has told people that the next president may need to raise taxes.
Mitt and Mormonism: FINALLY, an intelligent piece on Mitt Romney and the Mormon Question, by Allan Wall at Up until now, I've read almost nothing but hysterics and paranoia, even by otherwise thoughtful men like Thomas Fleming. The stupidity on the subject knows no bounds. Prior to this article, the only insightful writing I ran across was Razib's.

Wall expresses my concern that Mormons for doctrinal reasons tend to be soft on illegal and legal immigration, and while Mitt is clearly running to the right of McCain on the issue, his real views are probably influenced by his religious beliefs. Specifically, he is likely to have more-than-usual affection for Hispanics because of the Mormon belief that the indigenous people of the Western Hemisphere are sort of a chosen people. They have joined the Church in very large numbers (more than half of the membership worldwide is Spanish-speaking) and so white Mormons feel a kinship with them.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Race is the most powerful predictor of how immigrants will vote: I've shown in recent posts that neocons are flat wrong when they say that mass immigration is good for conservatism because immigrants move right after assimilating into American society. Non-white immigrants actually move left as they move up, as do those with no religion. The old belief that immigrants are an upwardly mobile bunch, and that people with increasing incomes become Republicans is false: 1) because the majority of folks from the largest immigrant group--Mexicans--as well as many from other groups do not become high-income, and 2) many immigrants are not white and not religious, and my analysis of GSS data has shown that these two groups become hardcore Democrats as their incomes rise.

One question I haven't answered is, which of these factors--income, religiosity, or race--is most important in determining whether immigrants vote for Republicans? Below, I show the results of a multivariate analysis. For race, I created a variable I called "social distance from white" where whites=1, other=2, and black=3.

Voted for Bush in 2000 (OLS standardized coefficients)

distance from whites -.294*
personal income .037
church attendance .171*
N = 129

* p < .05, one-tail test

Contrary to conventional wisdom, higher income immigrants are not more likely to vote Republican. Religious immigrants were more likely to vote for Bush, but the most powerful predictor is being white.

Based on this model, 69 percent of immigrants who are white and attend church more than weekly are predicted to vote for Bush; the percent for black immigrants who never go to church is 16 percent. For other non-whites who never attend church (e.g., Asians, Hispanics) 23 percent are expected to vote Republican.

The obvious implication for conservatives is that if they want to conserve themselves, they should favor one of the following: 1) an end to all immigration, 2) an increase in immigration among people who are white and religious, or 3) a reduction in the numbers of their counterparts (or 2 and 3 together).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

High-income immigrants with no religion vote overwhelmingly for Democrats: I wrote in an earlier post that Christian immigrants are more likely to move right and vote Republican as they assimilate, compared to non-Christians. Let's see if data (from the General Social Survey) support me. The survey asked 118 immigrants how they voted in 2000 (that is a small sample size, so fair warning). Here are the results:

Percent who voted for Bush in 2000

Christian 50.0
Non-Christian 38.9

Christian 70.6
Non-Christian 31.6

Christian immigrants start out split and move right as their incomes increase. Non-Christians, by contrast, start out liberal and move left as they move up.

But maybe it's simply religion, and not specifically Christianity:

Percent who voted for Bush in 2000

Has a religion 50.0
No religion 35.7

Has a religion 64.0
No religion 18.2

So, it appears that people who are affiliated with any religion--not just Christians--move right as they assimilate--while immigrants with no religion move left. (This helps explain why Chinese and Japanese immigrants aren't conservative: 44% and 40%, respectively, belong to no church.)

Tying this in with earlier points, as the number of immigrants who are non-white or non-religious grows, Republicans lose support. Improving incomes does not fix the problem; it only gets worse. Upward mobility only moves immigrants to the right if they are white or belong to a church. Other immigrants may become wealthier, but they become even more turned off to Republicans. The idea that people vote with their wallets, and so immigration of the upwardly mobile is a long-term winner for conservatives, is simply false.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Which American ethnic group is most negative toward Jews? You're thinking Germans, right? Wrong! Don't you ever read this blog? If you did, you would know it's... Mexicans!

The General Social Survey asked 1,008 people about the contributions of Jews to American society. Here are the percentages who answered that they have contributed little that is positive:

Percent who say that Jews have contributed little to American society

Mexican 16.2
American Indian 14.0
Blacks 9.1
Italian 8.0

USA 5.8

Scottish 4.4
German 4.0
Irish 3.3
English/Welsh 3.3
Jewish 0.0

This is the second time I have analyzed data showing that Mex-Ams have the most negative attitudes toward Jews, so importing massive numbers of Mexican immigrants is likely to make the sentiment more widespread.

For fun (admittedly nerdy fun), let's see the numbers who answered that Jews have contributed more to America than any other ethnic group:

Percent who say that Jews have contributed the most to American society

Jewish 26.5
English/Welsh 14.6
Blacks 14.1

USA 12.1

Scottish 10.8
Mexican 10.8
German 10.3
Italian 10.0
Irish 9.9
American Indian 6.0

You Jewish folks are patting yourselves on the back here just a little, but not without reason. What do you think respondents were thinking of? Jonas Salk? Einstein? (I'm sure some would think he counts.) Abraham Lincolnowitz? Myself, I was thinking the Marx Brothers (see above).

By the way, these numbers support the idea that people of English descent are philosemitic.
Why upwardly mobile immigrants vote Democrat: I bet you can predict pretty accurately whether someone votes Democrat or not by knowing if he views himself as an outsider. The Democrat Party is the party of outsiders. The most Democratic voting bloc, blacks, see themselves as a marginalized group. Whites who loathe the idea of wearing a suit and tie are usually liberal voters. Many Jews still see themselves as outsiders (but that has a lot more to do with history than current realities). They vote 3 to 1 Democrat.

This is a serious problem when it comes to the issue of immigration. New immigrants are by definition outsiders. Moving to the inside--and I'm talking here about something psychological and not economic and social--is not easy for immigrants, especially if they are not white. As I have shown in recent posts, non-white immigrants move left as they move up economically and socially.

Someone who sees himself as an outsider also perceives himself as weak--the inside is where the power is. He naturally joins up with other self-perceived outsiders to play the role of David against Goliath. He is both insecure and morally superior at the same time. His stance is oppositional: he wants to tear down whatever it is that the giant wants to hold up. That role is a an alluring one, and the psychological payoff is large enough to keep its hold on a person, even after achieving economic success. The role is so appealing, the children of non-white immigrants are likely to adopt it, even though they were born here and may have enjoyed an easy life.

People on the Right, by contrast, have no such insecurities: they belong here and they know it. The guys in suits are not your enemies: you're on the same team. But it is much easier to get to that place psychologically if you are white and Christian.

I say Christian because I can think of two examples where it's not just about race. I mentioned already how many Jews see themselves as outsiders, even though they are white. I showed earlier that Filipino immigrants are one of the only groups to move right as they assimilate. That may very well be due to the fact that they are overwhelmingly Catholic (in addition to being economically successful).

My comments so far have focused on an individualistic orientation, which shows my Western bias. Non-white immigrants are probably more clan-oriented than their European counterparts, so they might simply vote Democrat because they are concerned about the ease with which family members and co-ethnics can move to America in the future, and the Democratic Party is reliably an open borders party. Clan loyalty for these folks trumps economic interest.

You might respond that if non-whites are less individualistic, perhaps that is the reason they move left after immigrating here. There are a couple problems with that idea. It might be able to explain why they arrive here more collectivist than the average American, but why would they move farther left as they assimilate? Second, they might be more clan-oriented than Europeans, but one wouldn't expect them to be more big government than European immigrants who come from countries more liberal than the U.S. And perhaps the most important item is the direction they move after they get here, regardless of their politics when they arrive. Non-whites move left as they move up; Europeans do not. Something about the experience here convinces successful non-whites that the Democrats better represent their interests, while high-income European immigrants do not feel the same way. Successful people from Europe appear to be focused on economic concerns like low taxes, while their non-white counterparts are insecure about their place here in America, and they worry about relatives and co-ethnics who might want to emigrate in the future.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Which American ethnic group is proudest of their country? Probably English-Americans, right? Wrong! It's American Indians! The General Social Survey asked 1,195 people their primary ethnic group, and how proud they are of their country. Here are the percentages who answered "very proud":

Percent who are very proud of America

American Indian 92.2
Irish 87.1
German 83.5

All Americans 78.1

Italian 77.4
Mexican 75.9
English/Welsh 74.2
Jewish 67.7
Black 66.0

Blacks and American Indians have responded very differently to the injustices they have experienced. Not only are they on opposite poles here, blacks overwhelming vote Democrat, while Indians lean right. (In 2004, 50% voted for Bush).

No one can compete with the Indian number, but it is encouraging to see that Mex-Ams are prouder of their country than Americans of English ancestry. Jews are similar to blacks, but do not have the same kind of history here that would explain the low number. It is probably the case that more liberal groups accept the idea that it's unseemly to cheerlead too loudly about one's own country.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

White ethnocentrism: I don't know why I didn't run across this article on the psychology of white ethnocentrism by Kevin MacDonald before now. I know he's controversial, but it was thought-provoking.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Do atheists believe in anything? Over at his blog, Steve Sailer quotes the notorious atheist Christopher Hitchens as believing that anyone who thinks that race is real is a racist. Steve then cites a G.K. Chesterton scholar who said that when a man stops believing in God, he doesn't believe in nothing, he believes in anything.

Having been both a believer and an atheist, I'm not sure if atheism is a sign that a person is unanchored and thereby vulnerable to kooky ideas, or just indicative of a person with a sharp BS detector.

Let's have the General Social Survey shed some light on the question. In 2006, 1,782 Americans were asked if they believed in God, and if they considered astrology to be scientific. Here are the answers:

Percent who think astrology is somewhat or very scientific

I don't believe in God 28.8
There is no way to know 22.3
There is some higher power 28.9
I believe sometimes 31.5
I believe but have doubts 31.8
I know God exists 34.3

Compared to people of faith, atheists are not more likely to believe in crackpot ideas (at least in the case of astrology). Agnostics, however, seem to have the most acute BS detectors. Some atheists may be the tough-minded type, while others may be the kind who grab onto just about any idea if it irks Mom and Dad (and respectable society).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hispanic teens are worse (at least with some behaviors) than blacks, Part II: I showed in an earlier analysis that, compared to blacks, Mexican-American teens have higher levels of truancy, marijuana and cocaine use, weapons carrying, bullying, and frequent fighting. I found a similar pattern looking at another national survey--Monitoring the Future. The sample is 3,180 high school seniors:

Percent who received traffic ticket after drinking--past year
Black 4.5
Hispanic 6.5

Percent who received traffic ticket after smoking marijuana--past year
Black 3.7
Hispanic 4.6

Skipped a whole day of school in past month
Black 30.6
Hispanic 35.6

Folks who claim that mass Mexican-American immigration improves our quality of life must never leave their Manhattan penthouses.

Myself, I got bored at Wal-Mart today while waiting for my car's oil to get changed. So I went to the huge magazine and book rack, and could not find one decent magazine to read. Roughly two-thirds of the customers are Latinos, and there was not a single news or political magazine except for one lonely Time review of 2007. There was one book on Che in Spanish, and I studied the language in college, but it is way too much of an effort. In fact, most of the books were in Spanish, and most of the others were self-help books, both religious and psychological. Yuck.

Since there was not a damn thing to read, I decided to count the ratio of Hispanic groups talking Spanish versus those speaking English that passed by. Thirty-four Spanish, eight English. Roughly 4 to 1. Mercifully, I was paged, I retrieved my car, flipped on the radio, and found an acceptable station out of the five that were in English. Don't imagine for a second that I would have found Placido Domingo if I had given the Spanish language stations a chance. I'm sure you wouldn't think that either unless you live in one of those penthouses.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If conservatives want to conserve themselves, they need to be against all immigration--or at least all non-white immigration: My last two post have shown that, contrary to neocon nonsense, immigrants move left as they move into mainstream American society. I have, however, focused on non-white (or mixed raced) immigrants, while white immigrants have been left out of the picture. Below I show the percent of immigrants who voted for Bush in 2000 by race and by various indicators of assimilation:

Percent who voted for Bush

Less than high school 44.4
High school 45.0
Junior college 76.5
Bachelors 56.7
Grad school 25.0

Less than high school 35.0
High school 43.9
Junior college 33.3
Bachelors 27.3
Grad school 33.3

Low-income 50.0
High-income 60.0

Low-income 28.1
High-income 37.5

Low-prestige job 49.3
High-prestige job 46.9

Low-prestige job 31.9
High-prestige job 22.8

The differences are clear. While white immigrants appear to help Republicans to some degree, non-white immigrants, regardless of the ease to which they move to America's mainstream, push the country left. As white immigrants make more money, they become more conservative. So do non-whites, but 38% of high-income non-white immigrants voting for Bush is still a big loss to Republicans.

So the lesson here to conservatives is that if you want to ever win elections in the future, you had better shut down illegal and legal immigration--at least from non-white countries. Or just maintain the status quo, and allow neocons to eventually convince the country that universal health care is actually a conservative idea. Your choice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Do immigrant groups move right as their income increases? In the last post, we saw that immigrants as a group move left, not right, as they become more educated, but a skeptic might argue that we need to look at income since education is a liberalizing experience. The problem with income is that that the sample size is smaller--especially for high-income individuals--so I have to merge all the groups from the last analysis (Chinese, Mexican, Filipino, Puerto Rican, West Indian, Asian Indian). Mexicans are perhaps large enough to show separately as well. "Low-income" is defined as a personal income under $50,000; "high-income" is $50,000 plus:

Percent who voted for Bush in 2000

All immigrant groups
low-income 45.5
high-income 30.8

low-income 46.3
high-income 37.5

Focusing on income rather than education doesn't change a thing: money moves them left. Contrary to expectations, poorer, less assimilated folks are not especially liberal. It's more accurate to say they lean Democrat. They become hardcore as they assimilate. Assimilation for immigrants leads them to become politically more and more like blacks.

Let's look at one more indicator that immigrant groups are moving to the social mainstream--job prestige:

Percent who voted for Bush in 2000

All immigrant groups
low-prestige 52.7
high-prestige 30.3

low-prestige 50.0
high-prestige 39.2

Same story. As immigrants move up, they move left and vote Democrat roughly 2 to 1. If conservatives want to survive as a viable political force, they must oppose immigration across the board.

So, what has all the pandering to immigrants gotten the Republican Party? A very clear message: go to hell.

And I'll say it again: neocons are either fools or liars, or both.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Which immigrant groups become more conservative as they assimilate? The General Social Survey aksed 33,197 people living in America their ethnic group, their highest degree earned, and where they fall on the political spectrum. Answers on political views range from:

Extremely liberal=1
Slightly liberal=3
Slightly conservative=5
Extremely conservative=7

I've listed below the mean scores:

Mean conservative score

Less than high school 4.12
High school 4.02
Junior college 3.50
Bachelors 3.81
Graduate school 3.93

Less than high school 4.03
High school 4.02
Junior college 4.08
Bachelors 3.89
Graduate school 3.57

Less than high school 3.14
High school 4.21
Junior college 4.33
Bachelors 4.13
Graduate school 4.40

Puerto Rican
Less than high school 3.74
High school 3.97
Junior college 3.65
Bachelors 3.67
Graduate school 3.20

West Indian
Less than high school 4.31
High school 3.30
Junior college 3.00
Bachelors 4.11
Graduate school 3.67

Asian Indians
Less than high school 4.05
High school 3.73
Junior college 4.14
Bachelors 3.69
Graduate school 3.65

Neocons concede that most immigrants are liberal when they get off the boat, but their upward mobility and Old Country values gradually move them right. Well, looking at the numbers above--data that any yahoo can access--we see a grand total of one immigrant group following the path they predict: Filipinos. One outta six ain't bad, right? And our largest group--Mexicans--beats a path to the left as they become more educated. Neocons are either incompetent analysts, or they secretly want this country to move left, and are simply lying to us.

(I'm sure skeptics will say that I need to analyze income and voting behavior rather than education and orientation. I'll do that next).

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What percent of whites claim American Indian as their second race? You hear whites all the time taking pride in their having a American Indian (AI) great grandfather, or whatever. I just saw Wayne Newton on Larry King the other night bragging about how he is a descendant of Pocahontas. (His father was Irish-Powhatan and his mother German-Cherokee.)

The General Social Survey cannot tell us how many whites claim a distant ancestor, but it can tell us how common it is for a white person to see himself as also being AI. More than 8,700 whites were asked by the General Social Survey if they had a second race. Only 3 percent (2.98% to be exact) answered "American Indian." Now, how many AIs say their second race is white? It's 29.1%. But only 2.73%report that their second race is black.

How about blacks claiming to also be AI? Only 5.87%. And the percent of blacks claiming white as a second race? Even fewer: only 2.43%.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Living in America makes you fatter, and not in a good way: People who participated in the National Health Interview Survey were measured for weight and were also asked how many years they had lived in the United States. People gain weight as they age, so I calculated mean pounds for those between the ages of 31 and 35 (N=1,202), and this what I found:

Mean weight in pounds

less than one year in U.S. 164.65
1 to less than 5 years 160.78
5 to less than 10 years 164.36
10 to less than 15 years 165.36
15 years or more 172.56

All American men ages 31-35 181.03

less than one year in U.S. 132.71
1 to less than 5 years 131.99
5 to less than 10 years 133.67
10 to less than 15 years 137.93
15 years or more 139.68

All American women ages 31-35 143.82

It looks like people drop a little in the first few years, but after that they get fatter. But immigrants here even 15 years or more are still several pounds lighter than average. (If you're paying attention, you might be thinking that they remain lighter because they are shorter. I created a new variable by dividing weight by height. The mean score for all American men is 2.57, and 2.23 for women; for immigrants here 15 years or more, it's 2.51 for men and 2.19 for women, so you have a point).

There was a time when gaining a few pounds after reaching America's shores might have been a good thing, but I doubt it is now.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Race and science: The new Will Smith movie, I am Legend, is about a black scientist who is the last man alive after a worldwide epidemic wipes out all humans. It is up to him to discover a cure. This plot reminded me of the popular archetype of the black doctor/scientist. I'm thinking, for example, of Joe Morton who has played this type at least a half-dozen times (including the computer whiz in Terminator II) and of course Bill Cosby's Dr. Huckstable and Dr. Hibbert from the Simpsons. (List others if you'd like). I suppose I can understand pushing this archetype to send a message to young blacks that the absence of this kind of people in your own life does not mean you cannot be one, but it is a bit annoying. I find myself thinking, "Okay, a black scientist--helping the black kids, got it," when I should be getting lost in the story.

But my real interest here is to investigate the question of whether blacks are really interested in science, and if not, is it the Man's fault? Now white racists might be able to deny you good lab equipment at your local school, but they cannot dictate which TV shows you watch. The General Social Survey asked 1,468 Americans if they would hypothetically be interested in watching a TV program on the ozone. Here are the 8 ethnic groups with at least 50 respondents:

Percent who are likely or very likely to watch TV science program

Italian 70.4
Scottish 68.7
German 67.5
Irish 67.4
English/Welsh 67.2
Amerindian 66.2

USA 65.9

Mexican 62.3
Black 51.9

Blacks are at the bottom of the list. No one put them there. As a group, they are simply not as interested in science as other groups. Haven't you ever heard a black comedian making fun of how white people like to do weird things like study bugs? Little E.O. Wilson, spending all day hanging out with ants, must have been retarded or something, right?

People are different. So what. Get over it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Are Jews altruistic in a particularistic or universalistic way? I have heard both claims. The General Social Survey asked close to 2,700 Americans about their religious affiliation and a number of questions about giving help to strangers. Here are the percentages:

Percent who have done it at least once in the past year

Given directions to a stranger
Protestant 87.1
Catholic 88.3
Jewish 92.7
None 90.4

Offered a seat to a stranger
Protestant 43.9
Catholic 46.0
Jewish 59.5
None 50.4

Carried a stranger's belongings
Protestant 44.4
Catholic 49.2
Jewish 42.9
None 51.2

Allowed a stranger to go ahead in line
Protestant 88.7
Catholic 87.0
Jewish 87.8
None 87.3

Given money to a homeless person
Protestant 62.4
Catholic 65.4
Jewish 70.7
None 70.9

Donated blood
Protestant 15.6
Catholic 17.5
Jewish 11.9
None 16.5

There is no evidence that Jews are much different than anyone else. Where their numbers are a little higher, they probably have the advantage of more opportunities to help because of living in urban areas in high numbers. For an altruistic behavior that requires more effort and is less opportunistic, like giving blood, Jews fall behind a bit.

And notice how people with no religion are just as altruistic as those claiming one--maybe more so.