Archive for the 'Culture, Values and Attitudes' Category

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Poll: Concerns About Racial Tensions Decline Sharply In America

American Attitudes on Immigration and Diversity
Source: Anti-Defamation League

There has been a steep decline in concerns about racial tensions in America over the past 15 years, according to a newly released poll from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The poll also found a significant majority — 66% — views the growth of America’s minority populations as advantageous to the economy and society.

American Attitudes on Immigration and Diversity, a national poll of 1,000 American adults conducted on October 26, 2008 by the Marttila Communications Group, found that only one-third of the American people believes that racial tensions are increasing in this country. That is a substantial decline from 1992, when three-quarters of the American people expressed the same sentiment.

The poll also found that 66% of Americans view the country’s population growth due to immigration as “an advantage for America.” The poll was released during the League’s 2008 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Press Release; Full Results (PDF)

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood

American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood
Source: Anti-Defamation League
A majority of the American people believes that religious values are “under attack,” and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued today.
The survey was conducted by the Marttila Communications Group, a Boston-based public opinion research firm that has conducted numerous national surveys for ADL measuring American attitudes on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.09 percent. For many questions, the survey used the technique of split sampling,” a process in which the 1,000 sample was split into two demographically representative national samples of 500 respondents each. The margin of error for questions answered by 500 respondents is +/- 4.38 percent.
Press Release; Poll (PDF)

Inside Obama

Inside Obama’s Sweeping Victory
Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Barack Obama captured the White House on the strength of a substantial electoral shift toward the Democratic Party and by winning a number of key groups in the middle of the electorate. Overall, 39% of voters were Democrats while 32% were Republicans — a dramatic shift from 2004 when the electorate was evenly divided. The Democratic advantage in Election Day party identification was significantly larger than in either of Bill Clinton’s victories.

Childrearing, Family Formation and Voting

The Big Sort, a blog by Bill Bishop on, had a posting on Tuesday about the predictive nature of childrearing practices, family formation attitude and voting practices.
Spank Your Kids? You Likely Vote Republican

Genetics of Political Participation

Why Do People Vote? Genetic Variation in Political Participation
James H. Fowler, Christopher T. Dawes, Laura A. Baker
Source: American Political Science Review
The decision to vote has puzzled scholars for decades. Theoretical models predict little or no variation in participation in large population elections and empirical models have typically accounted for only a relatively small portion of individual-level variance in turnout behavior.However, these models have not considered the hypothesis that part of the variation in voting behavior can be attributed to genetic effects. Matching public voter turnout records in Los Angeles to a twin registry, we study the heritability of political behavior in monozygotic and dizygotic twins. The results show that a significant proportion of the variation in voting turnout can be accounted for by genes.We also replicate these results with data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and show that they extend to a broad class of acts of political participation. These are the first findings to suggest that humans exhibit genetic variation in their tendency to participate in political activities.
Full text (PDF)

Changing Western Values

Changing Values among Western Publics from 1970 to 2006
Ronald F. Inglehart
Source: World Values Survey
In 1971 it was hypothesised that intergenerational value changes were taking place. More than a generation has passed since then, and today it seems clear that the predicted changes have occurred. A large body of evidence, analysed using three different approaches — (1) cohort analysis; (2) comparisons of rich and poor countries; (3) examination of actual trends observed over the past 35 years — all points to the conclusion that major cultural changes are occurring, and that they reflect a process of intergenerational change linked with rising levels of existential security.
Download Document (PDF); Download Survey Data Files

Pew Forum on Religion in the U.S.

U.S.Religious Landscape Survey. Religious Beliefs and Practices: Diverse and Politically Relevant
Source: Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life today released its second report on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which finds that while many Americans are highly religious, most are not dogmatic in their approach to faith. This new analysis examines the diversity of Americans’ religious beliefs and practices as well as their social and political attitudes. It follows the first report of the Landscape Survey, which was published in February 2008 and detailed the size, internal changes and demographic characteristics of major religions in the United States.

Summary; Full Report (PDF)

Report #1 on Religious Affiliation may be found here.

Census Won’t Count Gay Marriages

Census Won’t Count Gay Marriages
Christopher Lee | Washington Post
Although gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts and California, census officials say that same-sex partners in both states who list themselves as spouses will be recorded as “unmarried partners” — just as they were in the 2000 census.
Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner cited the Defense of Marriage Act, approved by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing as a marriage the union of anyone but a man and a woman.

Health Care and Behavioral Economics

Health Care and Behavioral Economics
Source: Congressional Budget Office
CBO Director Peter Orszag’s presentation to the National Academy of Social Insurance

I suspect, on the basis of similar logic, that workers demand less efficiency from the health system than they would if they knew the full cost that they pay via forgone wages for coverage or if they knew the actual cost of the services being provided. I similarly suspect that making the underlying costs associated with employment-based insurance more transparent may prove to be quite important in containing health care costs. As transparency increases and workers see how much their income is being reduced for employers’ contributions and what those contributions are paying for, there may be a broader change in cost-consciousness that shifts demand. For workers and dependents with employment-based insurance, deductibles and copayments account for only about a fifth of their health care spending. The remainder comes from insurance premiums, only a quarter of which are paid directly by workers.

PDF of NASI speech

Sex selective abortions in India

Indian Prime Minister denounces Abortion of Females
Amelia Gentleman | NY TIMES
April 29, 2008
Story based on an article in Lancet:
Low male-to-female sex ratio of children born in India: national survey of 1.1 million households
Lancet 2006 (January): pages 211-218