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Category: polls (page 1 of 2)

Stuff Republicans don’t like

I was checking out this Gallup pollAmericans, Including Catholics, Say Birth Control Is Morally OK.

That’s interesting, but what’s more, they provide a breakdown of what people think is okay and what’s not. Here’s the list.

Okay, so people mostly approve of birth control, divorce, and gambling, and they disapprove most of suicide, polygamy, and (for some reason) cloning humans. Singled out for special condemnation is people who have affairs, which is surprising because haven’t a lot of people done that? Gallup says that’s their most consistently disapproved item. Interesting.
But the best part is that they break it down by political tendency. This chart shows the same things, but it’s  sorted by Republican minus Democrat approval. In other words, the top of the chart is things Democrats don’t approve of, but Republicans do (comparatively), and the bottom of the chart is stuff Republicans don’t like, but Democrats are like ‘meh’.
Top of the list of things Republicans like: the death penalty, medical testing on animals, and wearing fur. (Although I actually approve of medical testing on animals — not cosmetic testing.)
Cloning animals is a wash.
Most revealing, however, is the bottom of the list — the stuff that Democrats don’t mind, but that Republicans don’t approve of. I notice suicide — not many people like it, but GOPers slightly less. So let’s take a look at the issues that cut across the political divide more than suicide:
  • Porn — I doubt the Republicans are using less porn than Democrats, but maybe they disapprove more while still looking at it.
  • Sex between an unmarried man and woman
  • Having a baby outside of marriage
  • Gay or lesbian relations

In short, anything having to do with people having unauthorised sex. So really, Republicans don’t just hate gay sex — they hate straight sex too, if it’s not sanctioned by marriage. On the other hand, Democrats approve of unmarried straight sex about as much as they approve of (probably unmarried) gay sex — at 66% approval for both, it’s all the same to them.
Could this explain why conservatives are fighting gay marriage so hard? For them, marriage is what legitimises sex. So if gay people can get married, for them that’s like saying gay sex is okay. And for them, that’s not okay.
I’m trying not to read too much into these results, but this is an idea I hadn’t thought of before. Am I onto something?

Dear America: The gun thing

Hi, America. Just wondering how you’re doing. I know things have been a bit crazy lately — well, just like always, eh? Or maybe a little crazier.

Look, I noticed that you haven’t really changed your mind about guns, even with all the recent unpleasantness.

Americans’ overall attitudes toward gun laws have not budged an inch in the wake of the shootings in Arizona, according to a new national poll.

“Those numbers are identical to the results of a poll taken in the summer of 2009, indicating that the tragic events in Tucson have not changed how the public feels about gun laws,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “This is a familiar pattern in polling – surveys taken after previous incidents like the Columbine shooting have shown little or no change in Americans’ attitudes toward guns.”

I guess it was inevitable that nothing would change after the shootings — if Columbine didn’t do it, or Fort Hood, or Virginia Tech, — or the 80-something Americans that get killed every day — then I don’t suppose anything will. Just the cost of doing business.

But I also noticed that you think some restrictions are good.

The poll indicates that the two sides of the gun debate are evenly balanced, with one in seven Americans opposing any restrictions on guns at all and one in seven saying that all guns should be illegal except for police and other authorized personnel. Roughly a third support minor restrictions and roughly a third support major restrictions.

Wow, two-thirds of you want restrictions on guns. And yet there’s no plans to make it happen. It’s a dead issue. That must be frustrating. Is the gun lobby thwarting it? Would a bill ever get off the ground?

I’ll level with you, America. This issue makes you look… well, let’s just say other countries are starting to talk. That you can’t seem to get a hold on this issue even though it kills a lot of you seems suicidally masochistic. And it does kill a lot of you. Right now, gun deaths account for 78 percent of all your homicides — that’s the highest in the world except for Colombia.

Yeah, I know you like your guns. At least, those of you who are still alive. Let’s ask the rest of you how they feel. Oh, wait, we can’t. (Maybe that’s part of the problem — the dead can’t vote.) But some of you who are still alive say that you can’t take guns away because then only outlaws would have guns, or something like that. I guess that’s true; I wouldn’t like to be gun-less in a country already awash in guns. You can’t put the genie back in Pandora’s box, if you will.

Maybe gun control can’t work in America anymore, and if you want less gun violence, you just have to go somewhere else. I did go somewhere else, but even so, I still find this profoundly depressing. I like you a lot, America, and I hate thinking that this drama is going to play out again and again, and everyone will act just as shocked and outraged as ever, but it’ll never get better.

Emoticon test

Here’s a survey about emoticons that you can take. I recognised some, but others I had to guess.

I like to see what other linguists are doing, and it’s fun to guess what the work is intended for. I’d say this work is part of sentiment analysis: working out automatically how a writer is feeling about what they’re writing. Or tweeting.

So help a fellow linguist out and take the test. It’s quick, and sort of fun.

Atheists know more about religion

Try your hand at the latest Pew Forum poll. This was designed to test religious knowledge, and most Americans flunked.

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.

So Mormons did almost as well as atheists? That makes sense. I knew a bit about religion as a Mormon. Then when I learned a little bit more, I became an atheist.

Oh, and in fairness, I did score 15 out of 15 on the poll, but the last question was a 50/50 lucky guess.

The week in Palin

On Sarah Palin’s latest: I think ‘refudiate‘ is a perfectly good portmanteau word, like ‘webinar’ or ‘spork’. Palin wasn’t even the first to use it. But it won’t help the perception that she’s a Bush-style mangler of words, and I think comparing herself to Shakespeare was probably a bit over the top.

While I’m on the topic: In American pollstering: Palin’s favourables are now at 76% among people who still choose to identify as Republicans — higher than any other likely candidate. All sensible conservatives were driven out of the party long ago, or fled in horror.

Mormons the most Republican religious group

In a piece of news that surprised precisely no one, the Pew Report has revealed that Mormons are the most conservative religious group in America.

More Mormons (60 percent) identify themselves as conservatives than any other religious group; they also lead every other group in GOP party identification (at 65 percent)–much higher than the general population in both categories.

Actually, I was a bit surprised. Only 65 percent Republican? Back in my Utah days, it felt like 95 percent. I’ll bet the Republican numbers are low because there’s a further 25 percent comprised of John-Birch-birther-Ron-Paul Independents who think the Republican party isn’t Constitutional enough.

Out of the remaining 10 percent, subtract the usual 8 percent Unaffiliated/Don’t Know, and you’ll have 2 percent left. That’s the elusive Liberal Mormon.

You’ll find more than a few liberal Mormons behind this effort to reconcile LDS Church leadership with gay people. As of today, it has — wow — all of 1,360 signatories. (For comparison, this is an order of magnitude less than this petition to consider Michael Jackson for a Nobel Peace Prize.)

We the undersigned, in the spirit of love and peace, earnestly seek to create a climate for reconciliation between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and gays and lesbians who have been affected by the policies, practices and politics of the Church. We recognize that issues surrounding sexuality and gender orientation are complex; that understanding of these matters has evolved, especially over the past several decades, and are continuing to evolve as scientists, therapists, theologians and others continue to explore and ponder their meaning and significance; We believe that people of good will may have differing views about homosexuality, while maintaining amicable relationships.

Lovely sentiments, a noble goal, and a complete waste of time. Why would church leadership want to reconcile with gay people? Their fiercely conservative membership is convinced they speak for god, and when god’s on your side, negotiation is impossible. Enter a dialogue with gay people, seriously? Those people want to destroy society. Oh, sure, the church will have to walk back all that homophobia someday, but that’ll be a long time from now, and Mormons will claim it was never official church policy anyway.

You have to love Mormon liberals, but you have to feel sad for them. True, they haven’t completely off-loaded their conscience onto church leadership. But that only means that their post-Dark-Ages political leanings puts them at odds with other Mormons, including church leaders, who wonder why they’re not ‘following the prophet’. So they have an uneasy relationship with a church that distrusts them for their intellectual independence.

I want to see a better relationship between the LDS Church and gay people too, but it’s not going to happen by church members politely petitioning for it. It will happen when Mormons with a conscience refuse to support the church financially or numerically with their membership.

Daylight Savings does not fail; it is failed.

I have always measured the social backwardness of an area by their acceptance or rejection of Daylight Savings (e.g. Arizona, Saskatchewan, Mali, Queensland). It was disappointing, then, that WA rejected Daylight Savings last weekend. The issue will likely stay dead for 20 years, much like the gun control debate in the USA, though with less serious consequences.

The ‘no’ vote was helped along by some of the more unsavoury and obnoxious elements of society:

Morning people. What do they care if it’s blazing light by 5 am? They’re already out for a swim!

Farmers. Eschewing the company of other humans, these folk prefer to live among plants and animals. Evidently their chief concern was that cows would feel confused.

The elderly. Almost unanimously resistant, but honestly, how long are they going to be around to live with the results of their decision? On this issue, voting should have been weighted by age.

The technically inept. Also known as ’12 O’Clock Flashers’ for their inability to set the time on their VCR’s. They just got the microwave back to normal from the last time. A large section of the population, though there is high overlap with the aforementioned groups.

How long must the daylight remain unsaved? We, the 45 percent, will soldier on.

ARIS poll says non-believers up

Finally had time to get a good look at the ARIS survey everyone’s talking about. The big news: most religions are down, non-theists up.

The percentage of Americans claiming no religion, which jumped from 8.2 in 1990 to 14.2 in 2001, has now increased to 15 percent. Given the estimated growth of the American adult population since the last census from 207 million to 228 million, that reflects an additional 4.7 million “Nones.”

If all those ‘nones’ were a religious group, they’d be the third most populous, behind Catholics and Baptists.

And if you want some striking graphics to illustrate, USA Today has them.

Awful quiet out there.

Election prediction thread

Okay, we’re a little more than a week out. Using a few polling websites, my Magic 8 Ball, and a Ouija board, I’ve put together a map of states that are likely to go Obama. Basically I’ve colored anything blue if it’s a safe blue state, or on the edge. I threw in a few surprises (South Dakota, Georgia). I like the look of it.

I think this is the best outcome we’re likely to see. Granted, 399/538 is a real landslide.

So what’s your scenario? Give us a map, or just tell us
– President (duh), electoral votes, and percentage
– Number of Democratic congress-people
– Number of Democratic Senators
– The outcome for any other pieces of legislation current before the populace

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