The types of people interested in politics: I regressed one's level of interest in politics on the following predictors ( GSS data):
Standardized OLS regression coefficients (N = 611)
Size of place -.02
Years of education .17*
Occupational prestige .02
Family income .03
Church attendance .05
Trusts Congress .15*
* p < .05, two-tail test
At the bivariate level, interest in politics is positively correlated with IQ, educational level, occupational prestige, and income, but since all these predictors are intercorrelated, only education comes out statistically significant in the multivariate model.
So the picture of a politically interested person that emerges from the data is of an educated older man who has faith in the legislative process. A young uneducated woman who has no faith in the system is likely to be uninterested in politics.
What do these characteristics have in common? My guess would be a person who has developed the perspective of a leader. People who see themselves as responsible for the political system--a system they believe can work--are more interested in its management. Men, the educated, older people--they're more likely to feel part of the group that helps run things.
We saw in the earlier post that Jewish Americans and those of English descent are likely to feel part of that group, while Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans do not. As a reader suggested, it might be an attitude carried over from the old country.