Saturday, January 04, 2020

Are the Scots-Irish leading the way toward race consciousness?

I'm thinking that one way to measure an ethnicity's meaningfulness as a group is the extent to which they vote as a bloc. For example, why do blacks, whether wealthy or poor, urban or rural, religious or not, vote overwhelmingly Democratic? Because race is very important for them, and the vast majority see the Democratic party as best serving their interests.

The numbers shown below were calculated like this: 1) Look to see whether more of the ethnic group voted for Hillary or Trump; 2) subtract from that number the percent of all Americans who voted for that candidate; and 3) give a positive sign for those skewed toward Hillary and a negative sign for those skewed toward Trump. I included major racial and ethnic groups, and religions as well since they can also be cohesive groups (General Social Survey, sample size = 1,128).

Voting bloc index

Asian  46.5
White Southern Baptists  -45.0
White--American only  -43.3
Black   41.3
Puerto Ricans  32.2
Protestant Irish  -25.2
Scottish  -23.1
Southern Baptist  -22.0
Jewish   18.9
Mexican  17.5
Catholic Irish  -16.2
German  -14.1
Italian  -10.9
Whites  -9.9
Scandanavian  -9.4
English/Welsh   -9.2
American Indian  8.4
Slavic (non-Jewish)  -8.4
Episcopalian  -7.3
Catholic  -3.5
United Methodist   -2.9

Not surprisingly, non-whites tend to be the most ethnocentric. Asians include people whose families came from China, Japan, and India--they score even higher than blacks.

Hispanics and Jews are in the mid-range, but the striking numbers are for: 1) white Southern Baptists; 2) whites who say their ethnicity is American--Scots-Irish are likely to say this; 3) the Protestant Irish; and 4) Scots. The numbers for white Southern Baptists and for "Americans" are second and third highest on the list (!) and the scores for the other two groups are higher than that of either Jews or Mexicans.

I interpret this as an inchoate sense of identity. For other white groups or religious denominations, there appears to be weaker group cohesiveness. It's higher than zero for all groups, but the Scots-Irish seem to be leading the way on a path toward race consciousness.


  1. Anonymous5:58 PM

    White Southern Baptists/Scots-Irish have always bloc voted. They used to bloc vote for the Democrats until the Civil Rights era and Nixon's Southern strategy.

  2. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Interesting, they also tend to have higher birthrates than Whites who are more divided. Perhaps ethnocentric people have higher birthrates?

  3. Baptists are widespread throughout the South, probably even more so in the Deep South than the more Scots-Irish upper South. Ditto the very large share of Southerners who are of English descent (and, yes, I realize that the Scots-Irish are mostly English too, but northern England): most "English-Americans" in the South are likely to regard themselves as "just American." I sort of suspect that this may also be true of English-derived Yankees (pardon my language) who are of colonial descent: after our two wars with Mother England we wanted to forge a new, non-English identity because "England" became the symbol of everything we were rejecting politically. In short, I don't think these data can distinguish between Scots-Irish and other Southern whites of British descent.

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