Thursday, April 01, 2010

Are the Democrats Doomed By Their Big, Sprawling Tent?

Man, that O.K.Cupid blog outputs some surprisingly interesting stuff.


Blogger Jim Bales said...

I'm afraid that I am skeptical.

First, they draw a diagonal across their x-y chart and assign half to the Republicans and half to the Democrats. They give zero justification for this assignment.

Within this particular framework, I would argue the bulk of the Republican party occupies the bottom center of their chart (highly authoritarian, and mixed on economic liberties) while the bulk of the Democrats are slightly right of the center (mixed on authoritarian, slightly more restrictive of economic liberties).

This will not give the simple, symmetric, division of support between the parties they presume.

(Maybe my assignment of where the parties lie on their graph is wrong, but at least I tried to identify something other than the two corners--and it matters for their analysis!)

Second, the I am 48 and (by their analysis) my beliefs would place me up with the folks in their mid-20's or so. So, the nice "dots" are in fact extended areas showing the fraction of people of a given age who have a given x-y coordinate. But, they give no assessment of the size or shape of these areas.

Third, why should we believe that their data set accurately represents the political beliefs of all age groups? I presume "our data set" is that of the dating service. Therefore it samples a some subset of the fraction of the population seeking people to date. Maybe this is a good data set for single people (and maybe married folk whose marriages are in really bad shape). However, it is not representative of the population.

Fourth, their model predicts that a many (if not most) people in their early-mid 30's will change party allegiance. Since I haven't heard of this happening,I am hard pressed to believe that this is true. Certainly, if it is true, it would have been studied intensively and be well known!

An alternative hypothesis is that people form strong political attachments in their late-teens or early-twenties, and tend to stick with those attachments, barring major political changes.

(The civil rights movement and the effort by the Democrats in the 60's to dismantle discrimination had exactly that effect in the South, enabling the Repbulican's "Southern Strategy.)

If it is true that people tend to keep their political attachments to a political party, then it is the Republicans who are doomed.

4:18 PM  

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