February 13, 2012

"Why America Keeps Getting More Conservative."

Despite that article title, Richard Florida — Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management — stresses that he's only identifying correlations to "the deep cleavages of income, education, and class that divide America."

Why is it, for example, that working class correlates to conservatism?
Conservative political affiliation is strongly positively correlated with the percentage of a state's workforce in blue-collar occupations (.73), and highly negatively correlated with the proportion of the workforce engaged in knowledge-based professional and creative work (-.61). Both are also associated with the tilt toward conservatism in the past year.
All these liberal, knowledge-based professionals ought to be able to apply their big brains to the puzzle of why the working class folk they'd like to think they champion.
The ongoing economic crisis only appears to have deepened America's conservative drift - a trend which is most pronounced in its least well off, least educated, most blue collar, most economically hard-hit states.
A deep drift, in the deep cleavage of America.

67 comments:

Joe said...

Is it getting more conservative or is there simply a divide between the idealists and the realists?

Scott M said...

A deep drift, in the deep cleavage of America.

We need an economic recovery that both lifts and separates.

rhhardin said...

Economic conservatism is upward mobility if you do well and downward mobility if you screw up.

Those at the bottom look up; those at the top look down.

Tank said...

Tank cannot focus on politics and deep cleavages at the same time.

gerry said...

If one is a moderate, does one dwell in the cleavage?

(Pssst: All these liberal, knowledge-based professionals ought to be able to apply their big brains to the puzzle of why the working class folk they'd like to think they champion. --Is something missing from the sentence?)

YoungHegelian said...

I would like to see the statistics broken out by state/region. I don't think "class" is such a determinative.

For example, in the South, there is a fairly strong conservative consensus among whites of all classes, while in California, there is a democratic consensus that spans whites of many classes, latinos, and blacks.

Also, what does "conservative" mean? Northeastern blue collar union guys vote reliably democratic, but aren't particularly PC in any fashion. I was educated by lay teachers from the Midwest for 8 years in a Catholic school. They always voted democratic, but they were unbelievably culturally conservative --- and I mean that compared to a town of Alabama Protestants!

roesch/voltaire said...

I would recommend reading David Frum's review of Murray's Coming Apart, and all the following comments, to get a sense whether or not blue collar folks are more conservative-- or more alienated wishing for a past when they could secure a decent job that had not been outsourced etc.

Rusty said...

Progressive-ism has been found to deeply flawed. It's falsehood have come up against hard economic reality. A reality that blue collar people come up against every day.

Wally Kalbacken said...

Contrast in politics is good, but cleavage is better.

Hagar said...

The "elite" would like to do wonderful things for the "working class" with the working class' money - that's liberal - and the working class would rather keep the money for their own use - that's conservative.

KenK said...

Working class people usually are the more conservative element in every society; they have to be. For them it's either the frying pan or the fire. With a "choice" like that the status quo is the obvious choice. No bail-outs for them. Find a job cuz after 26 weeks you are on your own; save every nickel you can cuz pensions and SS are passe; and if you bitch about things too much and we'll outsource your job. So being "conservative" in that context is true. People at the lower end aren't all Larry the Cable Guy style idiots for the most part although the NYC/Hollywood script writers would like you to think so.

Andy R. said...

I've seen it discussed before that there are instances where people like to call themselves conservative but then will support specific policies that are clearly identified as being liberal. I think that there are many Americans who want to label themselves as "conservative", but I don't think that necessarily translates into support for a specific policy agenda.

"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare.

Scott M said...

or more alienated wishing for a past when they could secure a decent job that had not been outsourced etc.

I tried to organize a relief concert for both the laid off slide rule and vacuum tube factory workers, but today's A- and B-list recording artists just don't realize that people are hurting out there.

RonF said...

All these liberal, knowledge-based professionals ought to be able to apply their big brains to the puzzle of why the working class folk they'd like to think they champion.

Oh, they have. Their conclusion is that blue-collar workers are too uneducated to know what's best for them. Fortunately for all of us, people who have spent their lives avoiding blue-collar type work have decided that they are far better qualified to determine what's best for blue-collar workers than the blue-collar workers themselves are.

The people who complain about patriarchical societal structures are trying to set up the most paternalistic societial structure you can imagine. When faced with resentment and resistance they don't consider the arguments. They don't figure that most people have the right to make decisions for their own lives. They don't figure that most people have the ability to make decisions for their own lives. And they base that on the observation that people don't make the decisions that they think is in those people's best interests. If you disagree with me, I have a right and an obligation to make your decisions for you.

They don't consider that the objectors base their objections on rational consideration and the actual motives they present. Instead they hold that these uneducated people clearly have no agency; they have been influenced by wealthy individuals and corporations as well as their own racism and sexism and classism and their biases and predjudices. Their motives must be base, as they disagree with us.

Alex said...

Working class people are going to vote for Sarah Palin?

Alex said...

Andy is right - "liberal" is a dirty word more associated with pot-smoking hippies then FDR's programs.

Jay said...

Find a job cuz after 26 weeks you are on your own

Unemployment benefits now run 99 weeks.

Do you realize that is closer to 2 years than "26 weeks"?

X said...

"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare.

why participation is mandatory?

Henry said...

So this tower of spun sugar is all based on how people self-identify to pollsters? If self-identification trends from liberal to conservative, what does that actually mean? It could mean that people have changed their ideas. Or it could meant that certain ideas have been lumped into a different camp. Everyone could be believing the exact same thoughts, as semantics shift around them.

I hate political labels. They're a substitute for thinking.

KenK said...

@ Jay
How many weeks you get is determined by the state you are in and the unemployment rate and what your previous status was.

"The base period is the period of time used to establish what level of benefits an employee qualifies for. It is the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters in which the employee worked, meaning if you filed a claim in May 2009, your base period would be from January-December 2008. Some states may have alternate or extended base periods to cover people who fail to qualify under this standard."

Tyrone Slothrop said...

@Young Hegelian

Your question about breaking out the statistics is valid, but I don't think you correctly characterize California. If you look at an election map of California broken out by county, it is clearly urban centers that vote Democrat, Los Angeles and the bay area. Pretty much the rest of the state votes Republican, but we lose on the population numbers. I live in Riverside County, which is adjacent to both Orange County and Los Angeles County. We are the people who drive in to those liberal bastions and do the work that the knowledge based professionals can't do for themselves. Riverside County almost always goes Republican-- my congressman is Darrell Issa. I doubt that "there is a democratic consensus that spans whites of many classes, latinos, and blacks". I would bet that California breaks down very much along the lines of Richard Florida's study.

traditionalguy said...

The Liberal delusion only works on the young and on the Trust Fund Babies. Neither of them have ever seen the harsh reality of working hard or doing without what you want...and they don't intend to start now.

ricpic said...

But Murray has pointed out that the upper middle class brain workers live very conservatively while spouting the liberal line. What's that all about?

Tank said...

Andy R. said...

I've seen it discussed before that there are instances where people like to call themselves conservative but then will support specific policies that are clearly identified as being liberal. I think that there are many Americans who want to label themselves as "conservative", but I don't think that necessarily translates into support for a specific policy agenda.

"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare.


Agree with Andy R - now I have to kill myself.

Anytime you rely on people self-identifying, or analyzing themselves, you are in trouble.

So much of social science is BS.

Jason said...

Let's take a closer look at those breasts.

WV: penadis

Jason said...

Let's take a closer look at those breasts.

WV: penadis

edutcher said...

I know a lot of professionals who a lot farther to the right than any blue collar type.

Once again the Lefties preen for each other.

Andy R. said...

"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare.

No, they've become a mill stone around everyone's necks and people know it.

That's why there's a Tea Party.

William said...

I would describe the cleavage more in terms of a plumber's crack than red carpet necklines. One's gaze is more likely to be averted than fixated.

Econophile said...

Good example of the ecological inference fallacy.

Methadras said...

Scott M said...

We need an economic recovery that both lifts and separates.


And without any of those unsightly straps or wires showing how they hold it all up.

YoungHegelian said...

@Tyrone,

I don't deny that there's a heap of Republican white people in CA, with some very conservative enclaves, indeed, but I think my point still stands.

There's not much argument, I would hope, that the latinos & the blacks vote reliably Democrat. The problem, I would guess, is the "whites of many classes".

Let's see, the Hollywood limousine liberals, the genteel poor student/university crowd, the middle class, mostly white state unions, like the prison guards. and the left wing of the IT crowd. That's a lot of liberal white people, across the whole class spectrum.

Am I missing something?

bagoh20 said...

Part of the knowledge that knowledge-based people have is that they know they are relatively helpless without the social fabric, so they want it robust. Their very value is based not on what they can do, but their designated (credentialed) place in the fabric.

The blue collar (skill-based) person knows he can survive and excel if left free to do so. They know that the credentialed will always control the fabric because they need too. So the skill based want that fabric as small as possible. They have to carry it.

Thank goodness Americans are more like that than not. If this is true (and I'm not convinced) then it's a very positive thing.

Jim Howard said...

I think this is just a private sector/public sector divide.

Blue collar people are much more likely to work in the private sector than so called 'knowledge-based professionals'.

Being in the private sector, things like fracking and the Keystone pipeline are not just symbols to used in the culture war.

They are bread and butter being taken away from them by 'knowledge-based professionals' for irrational reasons.

bagoh20 said...

""Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare."


Now look here Toby, I know you have to work hard on the plantation, but you know damned well you like the food and housing we provide ya. And when you got your hand cut off working the fields that day, didn't we fix you right up and get you back to work? Now who's gonna take care of you if you was free?, huh Toby? No git back to work and stop this foolish talk of freedom. You can't eat yourself no freedom, boy.

Joe Schmoe said...

Scott M said...

We need an economic recovery that both lifts and separates.

Methadras said...

And without any of those unsightly straps or wires showing how they hold it all up.


And no deceptive padding this time!

Paul Zrimsek said...

But Murray has pointed out that the upper middle class brain workers live very conservatively while spouting the liberal line. What's that all about?

Being able to congratulate yourself on your broad-mindedness, without having to deal with the consequences. Kind of like the way some people like their city to be "gritty" so long as the grit is in someone else's neighborhood.

bagoh20 said...

Except for a few homeless people, I know very few people who live by the liberal standards they spout. Everyone likes their world run on personal responsibility, it's the natural way to see things. It's the enforcement that's run by politics. That's why bankers should be shot and murders need compassion.

Andy R. said...

"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare.

No, they've become a mill stone around everyone's necks and people know it.

That's why there's a Tea Party.


Yes, which is why we have the classic Tea Party supporter who is angry and protesting to keep the federal government from interfering with their medicare.

n.n said...

America was founded on the principal of individual dignity and was constructed to preserve it.

It's paradoxical that while social conservatives defer to a divine God for their post-mortem, it is social liberals -- presumably seculars -- in the great majority who defer to alphas or mortal gods to fulfill their dreams of physical, material, and ego instant gratification, principally through redistributive and retributive change (i.e. involuntary exploitation), but also through fraudulent and opportunistic exploitation.

It was those dreams that sponsored progressive corruption of individuals and society.

People have voted and extorted concessions to normalize behaviors which are incompatible with both the natural and enlightened orders. Now they profess confusion to distinguish between cause and effect.

Unfortunately, that is not really the case. In fact, treating effects has been supremely profitable for their ambitions to consolidate wealth, power, and generally elevate their stature in society. Employing emotional appeals (a primitive and universal instinct of people) to extort compliance has been and will continue to be effective. At least with some portion of the population, which has rarely recognize individual dignity, and will, perhaps for the first time in their lives, be forced to rely on it exclusively.

Today's progressive is tomorrow's conservative. No one in their right mind pursues progress for its own sake. The generational progressives have a cause but not a clue as they compete for the "progressive" title with their ancestors and predecessors. Neither the human condition nor human nature have fundamentally changed. The traditional knowledge acquired by the people who preceded us is equally valid today.

n.n said...

Andy R.:

Both Social Security and Medicare are contributory entitlements. This distinguishes them from other entitlements which are purely welfare. It's unfortunate that the former's funds were classified as fungible, redistributed from the trust, and the programs were corrupted. It's also unfortunate that people have seen fit to participate in waste, fraud, and abuse. Some people wanted to be saved from themselves and have failed, miserably.

John Lynch said...

"Working class" requires "work."

We're down millions of jobs. I think people have noticed.

Rusty said...

Andy R. said.

"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare.

I'm staring 65 in the face.
All I want is all the money I paid into SS. That's it. No interest. Just the money back. I
'll forego a cash payment and they can pay me in federal land.Their choice of land.
Failing all of that, let me opt out without penalties.

Rusty said...

X said...
"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare.

why participation is mandatory?



Yep. Try not paying withholding. The IRS will be on you like white on rice.

Sort of makes Andy Rs assertion disingenuous since participation IS mandatory.
But I want to thank all the working youngsters out there who are working their asses off to keep US older people in Zanax and depends.
Buncha suckers.

Andy R. said...

Sort of makes Andy Rs assertion disingenuous since participation IS mandatory.

I'm not saying people love participating. I'm saying they love the idea. People love the idea of a big government apparatus that will take care of them. Remember what happened when Bush tried to privatize social security?

You can run a poll and ask people if they want to pay less taxes in exchange for less government services. What do you think the results will be?

machine said...

"...getting more conservative"

If this were true, then why do Republican voters always nominate moderates for President and not "conservatives"?

I think America is purple...we all subscribe to red and blue ideas, just different hues...but most are in the middle.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... "Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare..."

And why not? They were sold as pension and benefit plans that we paid into our entire working lives.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... People love the idea of a big government apparatus that will take care of them..."

Actually you are absolutely right Andy. Take a look at Greece right now and youll see what happens when big government runs out of the money needed to take care of its wards.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... You can run a poll and ask people if they want to pay less taxes in exchange for less government services..."

Then again when nearly half of wage earners aren't paying income taxes, they getting the best of both worlds.

So we can raise taxes on the rich as high as you want but there just aren't that many rich people. Then what?

n.n said...

Rusty:

You should probably also request adjustment for inflation. Those dreams of instant gratification and out-of-sight and out-of-mind policies (e.g. "green" technology, illegal aliens) that people voted for did not come cheap and their costs are embedded.

Michael said...

Andy R: I get a little thing from Social Security every six months or so telling me how much I have "contributed." I have been "contributing" since I was 15 years old, over fifty years. I can promise you that had I been able to invest that money on my own, privately, I would have made one heck of a lot more than I am going to get back from SS. And, in addition, what I did not spend in my lifetime I could have given to my heirs. Social Security is the very definition of a Ponzi scheme.

mtrobertsattorney said...

"Athenians, I must tell you the truth; verily, by the dog of Egypt, this was the result of the search which I made at God's bidding. I found that the men, whose reputation for wisdom stood the highest, were nearly the most lacking in it; while others, who were looked down on as common people, were much better fitted to learn."

Socrates, The Apology

Nathan Alexander said...

"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, but people love their social security and Medicare.

Should be changed to:
"Liberal" is a bit of a dirty word in America, because people would like to get at least some of the money back via their social security and Medicare that was taken under liberal false pretenses.

See? No conflict when you drop ideological propaganda and use factual information.

Nathan Alexander said...

@Tank,

Anytime you rely on people self-identifying, or analyzing themselves, you are in trouble.

Ain't that the truth.

see: "Is homosexuality a choice?"

Scott M said...

Is homosexuality a choice?

Depends on what decade you're talking about.

Rusty said...

I'm not saying people love participating. I'm saying they love the idea. People love the idea of a big government apparatus that will take care of them. Remember what happened when Bush tried to privatize social security?



Yeah.
Guys like you were afraid they'd have to take care of grandma.

ic said...

"All these liberal, knowledge-based professionals ought to be able to apply their big brains to the puzzle of why the working class folk they'd like to think they champion."

Liberal elitists such as John Kerry, Warren Buffett, Kaiser, NYT's Pinch, the Obamas , the Kennedys, and the Clintons championed the working class to deflect criticisms and profited themselves. How much did the working class benefit from the Stimulus? How much did billionaire Kaiser? How much did working class benefit from not constructing the Keystone Pipeline? How much did Warren Buffett profit from not constructing the Pipeline? How much did the boat building working class profit from not building John Kerry's enormous yacht? The Kennedys raped young girls, the Clintons moved eight truck loads of furniture from the White House when they left. The Obamas raise billions from billionaire bundlers. Union bosses retreat in Hawaii 5-star resorts. Think the working class don't notice? They may not notice when they were working their butts off to put foods on their tables. They notice plenty when they don't have works and spend their days surfing the web, reading newpapers, channel surfing to Fox to glimpse MSM-embargoed news. The working class may not have the right credentials but they are not stupid. Fool them once, ...

Tyrone Slothrop said...

YoungHegelian said...

Am I missing something?


Yes, you are. Outside of the minorities on your list, the groups you name are the "liberal, knowledge-based professionals." I would take issue with your inclusion of "the middle class" in your list, a notoriously ill-defined group of people, and by any measure a large one. Are there "middle class" Democrats in California? Sure, I guess so. Do blue-collar, white middle class voters in California vote the Democrat line? No.

Here's your list:

Let's see, the Hollywood limousine liberals

Knowledge-based professional and creative workers.

...the genteel poor student/university crowd,

Knowledge-based professional and creative workers

...the middle class

I've addressed that.


...mostly white state unions

Have you seen who turns out at an SEIU rally? Mostly blacks and Latinos.

...like the prison guards

Not exactly a "class."

...and the left wing of the IT crowd.

Knowledge-based professional and creative workers.

You know, I think you've gone a long way in proving my point.

Scott M said...

Have you seen who turns out at an SEIU rally? Mostly blacks and Latinos.

I don't know about were you've been to these rallies, Tyrone, but they are as white as any Tea Party rally here in St Louis.

chickenlittle said...

"A rising tide raises all boats"
~JFK

"An ebbing tide strands the yachts first"
~the antiJFK

goethean said...

It's okay. Democrats can lose all of the dark green states and still win the Presidency.

chickenlittle said...

goethean sagt...
It's okay. Democrats can lose all of the dark green states and still win the Presidency.

Was wäre eine dunkelgrüne Staat sein, Johann?

Jose_K said...

Because liberals aborted their offsprings

carrie said...

Because blue collar people don't underestimate the abilities of people of their class or lower classess, and highly educated professional do. It has been my experience that highly educated professionals who are not the first generation of their family to have gone to college usually don't even know any working class people on a personal level so they don't have any clue about their real lives or abilities. Working class people tend to live with and or work with the leisure class at the bottom of the economic spectrum and don't think it is fair for the government (i.e., them) to support that life style.

Carol_Herman said...

Americans, when they got to vote, only have two choices. Controlled by insiders. Where both parties continue favoring only insiders.

The republican party has labeled itself the party of pro-life, and anti-drug. While a large majority of voters hate the wars we have been involved in: From Korea, on down. Plus, the "war on drugs."

"EVOLUTION" is a word that belongs "to the other side." And, today, at REDDIT, Pirate Bay had their opinion posted ... that the government (both sides) are "anti-reolution." We've used treaties with other nations to foist the views of a few in the entertainment industry ... to the point the FBI can arrest the owner of MegaUpload in New Zealand.

It's turning out that the USA's executive branch, have been strong-arming lots of nations ... from Canada, to the EU, to all sign up on "copyright infringement laws" designed to take down the freedoms people enjoy on the Internet.

The right wing crazies are hurting the "other choice label." And, in good time these things blow up.

Include, now, that citizens in lots of other countries are anti-American. And, they're screaming mad. Taking to the streets. To counter the cowardly signing of "treaty agreements" with the USA in SECRET.

Will this give another person access to an Independent run for the 2012 presidency? I have no idea. I only saw Ross Perot come out of the gate on Larry King Live. And, the elder Bush lost his re-election.

Yes, the country is "going conservative." Back in the 1930's, with Hitler on the march, a majority in this country was ISOLATIONIST. It took Pearl Harber to change things.

And, up ahead? Maybe, threatening the Internet with the signed secret treaties ... Beginning with Dubya in 2006. And, having so many citizens, world wide, having their eyes opening up now ...

It doesn't look so good for "conservatives," since Pirate Bay has gone on record of saying the USA is against EVOLUTION.

You can always thank Dubya for the highs he got ... sailing into Irak and Afghanistan. Perhaps, he thought all the soldiers who've died will "go to heaven?"

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Scott M said...

Have you seen who turns out at an SEIU rally? Mostly blacks and Latinos.

I don't know about were you've been to these rallies, Tyrone, but they are as white as any Tea Party rally here in St Louis.



I don't know whose post you're reading, but I was talking about California, a subject many seem to think they know a great deal about.

Penny said...

"All these liberal, knowledge-based professionals ought to be able to apply their big brains to the puzzle..."

Oh, I think they did JUST that.

In Richard Florida's first article about the continuing conservative trend per Gallup Poll's 3/11 data, he says this:

"Liberalism, which is stronger in richer, better-educated, more-diverse, and, especially, more prosperous places, is shrinking across the board and has fallen behind conservatism even in its biggest strongholds. This obviously poses big challenges for liberals, the Obama administration, and the Democratic Party moving forward."

So now we have new Gallup data showing the same conservative trend. I assume this would still be a big challenge for liberals, Obama and the Democratic Party, but no word of that this time. Instead he reinforces "the deep cleavages of income, education, and class that divide America."

So? Is this really about "class divides" or more about how liberals, Obama and the Democratic Party have become "CLASS DIVIDERS" for political reasons?

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that there are lot of things going on here.

One is that liberalism/progressivism is a demostrable failure. Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their partisans have done enormous harm to our economy during the six years since Reid and Pelosi took over in Congress (and, the Republican House is almost powerless on their own to counter this). The "blue" state model is likewise an abject failure, with the states following it the most closely, being in the worst shape.

So, our "bettters" think that they are better able to plan the economy than the free market can? Abject fail.

Also, this liberal model is inherently corruption. The middle class get poorer under it, while the politically connected get rich off them. Massive amounts of money are squandered, much of it ending up in their pockets. We are seeing a level of crony capitalism that is mind-boggling, where investing in K-street lobbyists pays 10,000% ROI, while interest rates are in the low single digits.

Not only is liberalism fiscally corrupt, but it also engenders a much higher level of corruption throughout the rest of the government. For example, we are seeing a Department of Justice far more corrupt than probably any of us have seen in our lifetimes. We have Fast and Furious (etc.), where the DoJ has released maybe 10% of the documents requested by Congress, and much of them were heavily redacted. All, supposedly in deference to their IG investigation - ignoring that the IG is a Holder crony from when he was the DC USA under Clinton. You also need to throw in selective political enforcement of voting and other laws.

So, with the economy almost in free fall, through enactment of liberal/progressive policies by liberal/progressive politicians, and the examples of their corruption becoming ever more obvious, it is probably no surprise that so many want to go back to where we were before these people took over.

And, now, we see how ObamaCare is being implemented, ignoring religious beliefs and economic reality for partisan advantage. We see how they lied through their teeth to each other and the American public to get this massive power grab enacted. And, how they continue to lie and spin, as the reality of the monstrosity they enacted becomes apparent as the thousands of pages of required regulations are implemented in a nakedly partisan way.