Wednesday, October 07, 2009

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)

Male .14*
Age .14*
Size of place -.02
IQ .04
Years of education .17*
Occupational prestige .02
Family income .03
Church attendance .05
Conservatism .03
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.


  1. The Undiscovered Jew2:53 PM

    Is there a correlation between interest in politics and actual voter turnout?

  2. Anonymous4:32 PM

    I used to read a lot of espionage and detective novels, and "kept an eye" on politics through a subscription to National Review and by reading a local newspaper--and a local alternative paper.

    As the years passed, the "novel of the real world" (the news and world events) got much more interesting to me than made up fiction, and I became something of a news-junkie. Seeing just how biased the MSM was led me to blogs. I now prefer reading blogs more than any other kind of writing.

    One has to be interested in the polity because freedom is not guaranteed without eternal vigilance. Would-be-"rulers" of the rest of us never cease to attempt ways of exerting their will over a docile, happy populace. The leftist-controlling-authoritarian impluse will never leave a portion of humanity, and they will always try and impose their will on the rest of us, and thus they need to be endlessly resisted. Good news media and bloggers can alert us on what these would-be-rulers are up to. It makes for interesting reading, and its a hell of a lot more entertaining than the idiocy one can see on television.

  3. "One has to be interested in the polity because freedom is not guaranteed without eternal vigilance."

    I agree, but with 304,999,999 people to back you up, vigilance is the kind of thing one can generally free-ride on.

  4. n/a discusses the issue here:


Meta-analysis of clinical trials: Eat walnuts

I am always looking for easy eating choices that are good for you. This new meta-analysis of 26 clinical trials looked to see if walnuts ma...