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Friday, December 5, 2014

The Tea Party in the USA is more likely to host deniers

Sou | 3:47 AM Go to the first of 35 comments. Add a comment

There's a new study recently published that will probably not surprise anyone, but it's interesting nevertheless. The authors investigated views on environmental issues of US voters. Instead of just splitting voters into Democrats, Republicans and Independents, they split them into four. They split Republicans into Tea Party Republicans and mainstream Republicans.

What they found was that Republicans that didn't align themselves with the Tea Party were more likely to have realistic concerns and attitudes toward environmental issues. Similar to Independents. It was those who indicated they were Tea Party Republicans who were batty. And not just about the environment, but about lots of other things as well.

The paper, by Lawrence C. Hamilton & Kei Saito from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA, describes their findings:
Tea Party supporters are less likely than non–Tea Party Republicans to trust scientists for information about environmental issues, accept human evolution, believe either the physical reality or the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, or recognise trends in Arctic ice, glaciers, or CO2. Despite factual gaps, Tea Party supporters express greater confidence in their own understanding of climate change. Independents, on the other hand, differ less from non–Tea Party Republicans on most of these questions—although Independents do more often accept the scientific consensus on climate change. On many science and environmental questions, Republicans and Tea Party supporters stand farther apart than Republicans and Independents.

I bet you've heard that before. The part where the Tea Party supporters, despite factual gaps, "express greater confidence in their own understanding of climate change" sounds familiar, too. I wonder, if asked (and answered truthfully) how many WUWT-ers would admit to being Tea Party Republicans?


The paper itself (open access) describes the difference between mainstream and Tea Party Republicans:
First, compared with mainstream Republicans, Tea Party members are more likely to be older, middle-class, male, European-American Evangelicals with high levels of education (Maxwell and Parent 2012, 2013, Skocpol and Williamson 2012). Second, Tea Party members are more likely to be highly ideological, particularly around fiscal conservatism (Bullock and Hood 2012, Maxwell and Parent 2012, 2013, Skocpol and Williamson 2012) and libertarian principles (Skocpol and Williamson 2012, Knowles et al. 2013). Third, current research has not supported the popular notion that Tea Party membership is directly related to racism, despite its monoracial profile (Skocpol and Williamson 2012, Knowles et al. 2013, Maxwell and Parent 2013).

It also has this chart, the bottom bar of which could be from a paper by Dunning and Kruger, or a snapshot of WUWT readers. Click to enlarge it or go to the paper, it's Figure 1:

Figure 1. Science, environmental, and climate perceptions by political party identification – Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and Tea Party supporters.

Notice especially the last box in the bottom right hand corner. Compare the opinion of Tea Partiers about their own knowledge, with their wrong ideas about science in the other boxes. Is it any wonder they are regarded as utter nutters when it comes to science?

Another interesting aspect is education. For Tea Partiers, education cements their denial more firmly, which is something other studies have shown. It does not affect mainstream Republicans to a great extent. Acceptance of climate science increases with education for Democrats and, to a lesser extent Independents. This is from the paper:
Education × party interaction effects, widely observed with more traditional party or ideology indicators (e.g. Hamilton 2008, 2011, 2012, McCright 2011, McCright and Dunlap 2011), occur in this four-party analysis as well. The effects of education are positive and significantly stronger for Democrats, compared with non–Tea Party Republicans, regarding trust in scientists, evolution, and four climate items in Table 2.
For the most polarised question, climate, the effects of education are negative and significantly different for Tea Party supporters compared with non–Tea Party Republicans. Thus, among non–Tea Party Republicans, agreement with the scientific consensus on climate change is almost unaffected by education. Among Tea Party supporters, however, agreement with the scientific consensus declines with education. 

This is shown in Figure 3 from the paper:

Figure 3. Belief in anthropogenic climate change by education, for Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and Tea Party supporters.

In the press release, Professor Hamilton suggests that this is because Tea Partiers don't trust scientists so go to the crackpots instead (like Bob Altemeyer's right wing authoritarian followers) - my paras and emphasis:
Hamilton suggests that’s because well-educated individuals actively acquire information, but they also choose their sources. Those who trust scientists are more influenced by research findings or major science organizations, but those who don’t trust scientists know where to find alternative sources that better fit their beliefs.
“People with more education could have greater awareness of their political leaders’ and parties’ positions, or take more initiative themselves to acquire information that reinforces their worldview,” Hamilton says. “When it comes to climate change, for example, there are many excellent real science sources, but also many political or pseudo-science sources that sound convincing to some people.”

That rings a bell, doesn't it. Tea Party Republicans are odd creatures. It shows why there is little point in or hope of changing their attitudes. In the paper, the authors conclude:
The keys to gridlock on at least some environmental problems may depend not on divisions between the two main parties, as often assumed, but rather on divisions between factions of one party.

I've just covered a couple of points raised in the paper. There is a lot more to it and it's worth a read, if you are puzzled about the entrenched views of deniers.

You probably know that these findings are not new. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The paper states that it is an update of update research on ‘the social bases of environmental concern’. (See here - from 1992 and here - from 1980.)


Lawrence C. Hamilton, Kei Saito. "A four-party view of US environmental concern. Environmental Politics", 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2014.976485

35 comments:

tonyhellerakastevengoddardisnotasociopath said...

Must we always inject politics into this debate?

Let's get back to the science, shall we?

Did you know that 97% of climate scientists agree that their favorite guilty pleasure is reading take downs of climate denier Tony Heller (aka Steven Goddard).

Why not join them here: http://bit.ly/1vQuXWS

numerobis said...

How is Steven Goddard still a thing?

tonyhellerakastevengoddardisnotasociopath said...

Actually, I'm bigger than ever. 20 million page views total and 250,000 visitors per week (or so I claim) and a few thousand twitter followers and growing rapidly. I'm spewing massive amount of garbage out there to see what sticks. Guess what? It appears to work.

You man know I'm a crackpot but doesn't mean others do.

David R said...

Steven ('Steve') Goddard showed up on Paul Hudson's BBC blog today: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/paulhudson

Looks like Hudson has finally realised that all that attention he got from the 'sceptics' after this ill-fated blog wasn't worth the baggage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/legacy/paulhudson/2009/10/whatever-happened-to-global-wa.shtml

Paul's latest post suggests he now want to jump off the sinking ship he, innocently or otherwise, helped launch. Fake Sceptic Central (FSC) doesn't like it. They've mobilised their finest minds....

Tim said...

"Third, current research has not supported the popular notion that Tea Party membership is directly related to racism, despite its monoracial profile"

But the libertarian movement started when African American had to be treated as humans. Before that also conservatives had no problem with social security. The Tea Party really took off when America got a black president. And all their preferred policies benefit the whites and rich and hurt the African Americans and poor. Could they simply be in denial of their racism?

DMH said...

I don't understand this American fascination with breaking everything down along political lines. How about breaking it down on gender or racial lines instead? Can one imagine the uproar if people of a particular race were found to be more denialist than another race, and the conclusion was drawn that maybe they were victims of Dunning Kruger effect?

Sorry, but this type of analysis is just obviously agenda driven. Political analysis in the US almost ALWAYS breaks issues down by race and gender, but on this issue, carefully leaves those out. This does nothing to advance the discussion of the science, its just name calling.

KR said...

If you had actually read either Sou's writeup or the original article, DMH, you would note that race and gender _were_ considered in this study. And while there were correlations, stronger connections were found with ideology.

Your response (clearly heartfelt) appears to have little to do with how this was studied and described - and IMO far more to do with disliking the conclusions.

Sou said...

The study did look at gender and age. It was part of longer term research. In the USA there are lots of research studies that show that voting preference and ideological bent is highly correlated with attitudes towards environmental issues and understanding of environmental issues.

If you want racial profiling on the subject, you could look it up. There is a bit in this study, in that Tea Partiers tend to be white and male. 30 seconds on Google found a study that suggests that women and racial minorities tend to be more concerned about climate change.

http://128.138.136.233/students/envs_4800/kellstedt_etal_2008.pdf

Whether ethnic origin (and sex) predisposes one towards a particular stance or whether it is more a matter of place in society, wealth, education or other cultural/environmental factors I don't know. You'd be moving into eugenics and brain differences. There are probably other studies that examine these aspects. This particular one was focused on political preference. It's obvious in the USA that political candidates take a position on climate that they think will align with their core constituency of voters.

(Are you libertarian or a Tea Partier by any chance?)

Sou said...

At WUWT, sexism is much more prominent than racism. At HotCopper both were in evidence, but going by commenters, racism came into discussions that demonstrated sexism as well. Almost never when it came to climate discussions.

Sou said...

I should add that there is no suggestion that people involuntarily seek political allegiance. Everybody has a choice. Whether they deliberately exercise choice in the matter or even think very hard about it could be an interesting question though.

In the USA, as here in Australia, people tend to vote for a particular party or candidate because the expressed stance of that party or candidate aligns with that of the voter most closely at any particular time.

Although even that statement, while it would appear to be self-evident, may not be the whole picture or even the main picture. Far from it.

For example, in most democratic countries with elections there are swing voters. They tend to be the minority not the majority.

A lot of people who vote a particular way because they have an allegiance that has elements of supporting a football team, tracing back to family tradition, peer group pressure etc rather than anything else. What is often inappropriately referred to as "culture". A better word doesn't come to mind. I'd say the majority of people vote fairly automatically along party lines.

It's the swing voters who, in most elections, determine the outcome. These could be people who are amenable to being "bought" and bribed as well as people who think through their vote in a rational way before voting.

If a government is really bad then some of its core voters will vote for the other party as a once-off.

Sou said...

DMH, given your interest you've probably already found this report:

Race, Ethnicity and Public Responses to Climate Change

"In this report we examine public support for climate change and energy policies among different racial and ethnic groups. We find that in many cases, minorities are equally as supportive, and often more supportive of national climate and energy policies, than white Americans.
As the United States becomes increasingly diverse over the first half of the twenty-first century, understanding the viewpoints of people of different racial and ethnic groups on climate change is becoming ever more important. This report provides an analysis of the global warming and energy policy preferences of both the overall American public and of particular racial and ethnic groups, based upon an October and November 2008 nationally representative survey of American 2,164 adults. A follow-up survey of 1,001 respondents in December 2009 and January 2010 is also discussed."

numerobis said...

Ayn Rand gets way better numbers than that despite being dead. And yet, people wonder how is she still a thing.

DMH said...

I'm not a Republican, or a "tea partier", I'm not even an American. Nor need you lecture me on what a swing voter is. As for the report above, I'm not going to read it as my experience is that these are almost always agenda based reports, and if I pull down the full stats (ALL the questions, and the ORDER the questions were asked in) and look at the numbers myself, invariably I discover bias or an agenda of some sort. These are divide and conquer documents designed to make one set of people feel superior to another set of people. I can whip up a survey like this and by asking leading questions in a particular order, get the opposite result.

If someone wants Stefan-Boltzmann explained to them, or Plank, or what a transmission spectrum is, I don't base the answer on their political leaning or race or anything else. I base it on their technical background and work up from there.

I don't get sucked into divide and conquer strategies.

Sou said...

It wasn't a lecture aimed at you DMH. I was just tossing ideas into the mix, that's all.

I don't know why you are so puzzled by the interest in exploring what you call "divide and conquer" strategies in the USA. It's ingrained into politics.

The "divide and conquer" approach of the Republicans is a curiosity and it's interesting how and when it operates. Eg they selected a moderate to run against Obama, so they don't apply it all the time and probably recognise that it's only a minority who hold the nuttiest views.

This association (political stance and science denial) is best demonstrated in the USA more than anywhere else. Australia to some extent, but nothing like what happens in the USA. Canada a little bit. Europe not so much. The UK has the UKIP party I suppose, but that's not really the same as the Tea Party in the USA.

Uniquely in the USA (AFAIK), the link between political allegiance and science denial goes beyond climate. A lot more Americans who vote conservative don't accept evolution even - much more so than those who vote Democrat.

I find it fascinating. The USA is a country of big contrasts - from a cultural and sociological perspective.

I can understand that some people don't want to know.

Nor do I respond differently to people commenting on science based on their political allegiance. We notice it sometimes (eg when people shout that the free market proves that climate science is a hoax). But science is independent of politics. I'm surprised that you seem to be implying that we do respond differently. And find it a bit ironic, given the substance of your comments here.

Doesn't mean I need to shy away from writing about research like this. It's relevant to climate change, particularly to mitigation.

Sou said...

Oops. DMH, I just noticed that you aren't interested in this sufficiently to even read the different reports I linked to. Yet you have very strong opinions on the subject and are quite sure those studies will be something or the other that fits your preconceptions.

How very enlightening.

John Mashey said...

The TEA Party is a construct of the Kochs + Big Tobacco, neither of whom have much use for the US Federal government, taxes of any sort or science, especially when it yields inconvenient results, which it often does for companies that privatize the profits and socialize the costs. (For the tobacco side, they don't mind people intellectually accepting the science as long as they vote against cigarette taxes and any expanded government involvement with relevant healthcare.)

I have the paper, and it certainly includes gender.
"Age exhibits modest negative effects, intermittently significant, on the science,
environment, or climate responses in Table 1. Gender effects are likewise intermittent.
Women are significantly less likely to believe in evolution, yet more likely
to believe in anthropogenic climate change. They less often claim to have moderate
or great understanding of climate change, and less often answer the glacier and
volcano questions correctly (frequently choosing ‘don’t know’ instead)."

As for race, whether or not that is generally useful in such surveys, it's not likely to be very relevant in a New Hampshire survey.



Captain Flashheart said...

Ordinary people aren't interested in Stefan-Boltzman or Planck's constant, DMH, they're interested in the policy implications of scientific findings. This is why what you describe as "divide and rule agendas" are so important, because ordinary people don't have time to assess the quality of the science and need instead to judge the political context in which it is framed, the trustworthiness of the people doing the research, and the implications for politics.

Denialists understand this, which is why they attack scientists and develop simple, easily-grasped memes like "the Pause" that, despite being wrong, are sufficiently comprehensible to ordinary people that they can spread fear and doubt. This is what the surface stations project was conceived to do - don't attack the science, but spread questions about the quality of the evidence. Naturally these attacks fall on party lines, and if we ignore this "divide and rule agenda" we'll all end up being destroyed by it.

That's why this research is important.

tonylearns said...

Ha, I JUST tweeted to Gavin or Victor or some climate person About Venus being hot because of pressure.
and I deftly countered a denier on Facebok who claimed Plants LIKE CO2 and I pointed out that there were NO plants on Venus or mars, so CO@ MUST be a plant poison.
as you can see I studied under goddard for a couple of years. He kept banning me though, and I finally had to leave with my tail between my legs.
I had been dogging him since march 2012 about his claim that arctic ice couldn't possibly reach a record low. In the middle of August he banned me saying I was a liar that he didn't make predictions about Arctic ice.
coincidentally a couple of weeks later the magical new record happened.

It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance

Sou said...

Good points CF. I'm trying to imagine a discussion about Stefan–Boltzmann or lapse rate or even the greenhouse effect and blankets, with someone who rejects evolution and thinks earth is 6,000 years old.

I find it equally as hard to envisage Tony Abbott (our PM) suddenly sending out a press release saying he's going to stop any more coal exports from Australia because of something he read that Claude-Louis Navier and George Gabriel Stokes or Max Planck wrote.

BTW (and completely unrelated) you aren't looking for a job as a sock-puppet spotter are you? I don't think I ever congratulated you. You're the best :)

Captain Flashheart said...

I think Abbott's head would explode if he had to comprehend something like that ...

Thanks Sou, it was the way that the dude seemed to understand Tisdale's inner thoughts, and his declaration of those thoughts as if he didn't need permission or have any fear of being wrong, that twigged me. I guess I have just read too many Regency Era novels ...

DMH said...

I'm trying to imagine a discussion about Stefan–Boltzmann or lapse rate or even the greenhouse effect and blankets, with someone who rejects evolution and thinks earth is 6,000 years old.

One of my professors in university had a PhD in Geophysics and taught the classes on how to accurately date fossils that were millions of years old. He was also a devout Christian, and believed the earth was less than 6000 years old. When asked how he could reconcile the obvious contradiction he picked some sea creature fossil off his desk and said he didn't know why God created it xx million years old, but he did. If he wanted to know why God would do such a thing, he would have become a priest, but he was more interested in what God created, so he became a geophysicist. He saw no contradiction between his science and his religion.

I deal professionally with a very large number of scientists, this is not uncommon.

Sou - I skimmed the Yale paper. The sample size is too small, and the recruitment technique flawed. I've reviewed hundreds of these kinds of papers over the last 30 years, most of them are biased (often unintentionally) one way or the other, which is why I don't read them unless someone pays me to provide an analysis for them. In this case the Yale paper discredits itself. If support for climate mitigation policies was as high as the paper claimed (see summary at the beginning), legislation would be sailing through both houses in the US with mainstream Republicans and mainstream Democrats both trying to take credit.

Sou said...

Nice to see an example of how dialogue can (sometimes) influence behaviour :)

Captain Flashheart said...

The sample size is not too small DMH, and the recruitment technique is based on random digit dialing telephone sampling. You really can't do much better than that if you want to know how the public thinks, unless Barack Obama really is the antichrist and can force everyone to reveal their thoughts to the evil Agenda 21 Apparatchiks.

The paper doesn't "discredit itself." The antics of Republicans in congress show that public support in the USA cannot overwhelm the cronyism and special interests of its oligopoly.

If you start from the assumption that good public opinion research is impossible and that republicans represent the will of the people, ignore the gerrymandering of electorates and the excessive power of small states (especially in the Senate and in electing the president), assume that they don't have conflicting loyalties to highly powerful special interest groups, and throw in a hefty dose of faux-cynicism, then yes you will end up thinking that all research is wrong and it must be the case that the general public oppose all sensible policy.

Convenient for the denialists, but not very useful for the common good or the environment.

Avery said...

David Koch is an enigma. He is a classic denialist of climate science conclusions yet he associates with scientific endeavors in many things he does. I have been to various hospitals that had entire wings with his name on them. The most intriguing enigma is the Natural Science Museum in Washington D.C. where he foot the entire bill for the very well done Origins of Man exhibition. Koch may be Tea Party but he clearly accepts the evolution of Man. I think I read he has also donated a few million more dollars for the major renovation of the dinosaur section of the same museum.
How can someone seemingly fighting the common sense of what climate scientist have shown us be shown to have very good common sense and good will in other areas? That said, I know he is heavily invested in Canadian tar sands and I hope he takes a significant financial hit with the current dip in oil prices such that the project gets abandoned. I hope.

Sou said...

Incidentally, DMH, given your comment about "flawed", what approach do you use in your surveys of all America (or populations elsewhere)? I know that telephone surveys have known drawbacks. Often they are restricted to landlines for example, which cuts out certain demographics, though I don't know if that's the case with the "Knowledge Networks. Recruited nationally using random-digit dialing (RDD) telephone methodology".

The study itself lists caveats and margins of error. Are you saying their cautions and provisos were not sufficient? Or are you just saying that there is absolutely no point in trying to gauge public opinion on any topic at all, and its useless to compare one study with another.

Almost all surveys like this are biased in one way or another, either in the question, or the sample design, or in the analysis. That doesn't mean they are useless, although that seems to be what you are saying. (Physical science research can be biased too, it's not just social science research that suffers bias.)

You seem to be a bit all over the place. But that's probably just me not understanding what you are trying to say.

Another thing, politicians all over, but particularly in the USA, often work for different constituencies. Many politicians in the USA work for the people who fund them as much, and in some cases probably more than the people who vote for them. That's more of a feature in the USA because of the system of political contributions than in other places, but it happens here too to some extent. (Sometimes with a view to a job post-politics.) What that means is that you cannot assume that the political system always works to do what the majority of people support. There would be many examples where it doesn't. Where governments don't than a populist stance.

As for the results of the survey, they are what they are. There may be other studies that find different results and probably there are. They will also have their biases. I like to look at more than one "poll" rather than no polls. I also notice that the same poll taken at different times can have somewhat different results. (Elections are a prime example of this.)

Anonymous said...

DMH writes: "As for the report above, I'm not going to read it as my experience is that these are almost always agenda based reports, ... invariably I discover bias or an agenda of some sort."

That kind of pre-judging of scientific research is precisely how the Tea Partiers work in America. It also is a cornerstone of scientific denial.

Mike Pollard said...

DMH writes " If support for climate mitigation policies was as high as the paper claimed (see summary at the beginning), legislation would be sailing through both houses in the US with mainstream Republicans and mainstream Democrats both trying to take credit."

DMH clearly has a very naive understanding of US politics. "Ninety-two percent of voters, including 92 percent of gun owners and 86 percent of Republicans, support background checks prior to all gun sales, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University." from thehill(dot)come of July 3, 2014. See any move by Congress to pass such a law? Hope, didn't think so. One organization, the NRA, controls any regulation in that arena.

KR said...

I believe Koch is primarily a libertarian who (apologies if my interpretation of that group isn't the mainline definition) really _really_ dislikes government, particularly when it interferes with his profits. And that accurate science is fine with Koch, as long as it again doesn't get in the way of profits. Money money money, and don't dare regulate him!

DMH said...

RDD is inherently biased toward unemployed, under employed, lonely, elderly, etc based on these groups being more likely to agree to the survey at all. Who DOESN'T agree to take the survey has a major impact on results, you can even swing some issues a few points one way or the other based on what time of day the RDD calls are made (2:00 PM nets you more stay at home parents than does 7:00 PM for example). Now, you can control for all those variables, but not on a sample size this small. A sample size this small is OK for black and white issues (ex: will you vote Dem or Rep this election?) but too small to filter out those variables on a highly complex survey such as the Yale one. Their in box completion score is way too low, just over 50% is low. That can have multiple driving factors, but the most common one by far is respondents having opinions that they cannot express through the choices provided in the survey format, so they never complete it.

Anonymous - surveys aren't science, at least not in the same sense as physics, chemistry or geology are. Having had considerable experience with the field, and knowing how complicated it is to, even with the best of intentions, design a methodology that provides insightful information, I rarely pay attention. But if someone pays me to quantify the bias in the methodology and provide an opinion as to accuracy, then I'll pay a lot of attention. Deconstructing (properly rather than just skimming) a survey of this complexity would take a couple of weeks provided that there was cooperation from the institution in terms of supplying raw data and answering questions regarding methodology that aren't in the existing documentation. I don't have the time to invest in a document that experience has told me over and over again is inaccurate.

Mike P - That's a survey result which I cannot verify. If true on its own merit, then wow, American politics is more screwed up than I thought. But I suspect there other factors like constitutional law that impede progress. Some of the mitigation actions in the Yale survey probably have legal issues associated with them as well.

numerobis said...

It's hard to make surveys; that's why it takes an expert to do it in a scientific way (rather than the maddening push poll I was subjected to the other day).

DMH, you go on and on about the possibility of error, as if the authors hadn't written: "Confidence intervals are on the order of ±7 points for the Democrat values, and up to ±14 points for the other, numerically smaller, groups"

So yeah, those are big confidence intervals. That's why they say the GOP and Independent numbers aren't really distinguishable despite what my Mk1 eyeball says. However, the TP numbers are apparently distinguishable from GOP/Independent; the Dem numbers as well.

The key methodological weakness is that all the survey data is from NH. New Hampshire is not the USA. This is where I expected the paper to beg for funding, but they held back from doing so!

DMH said...

Didn't notice that it was NH data only. That makes it even worse.
Nor do I trust their confidence intervals.

Joseph said...

" But I suspect there other factors like constitutional law that impede progress."

If you are referring to background checks, there is no constitutional law prohibiting expansion of background checks. And there are a number of other issues that the majority of Americans support, but no action is taken by the legislature. And it's no surprise that more conservative you are, the more likely you are to reject climate science. At least in the US. I really don't think there is any reason to doubt the results of this poll even if the methodology is flawed.

Mike Pollard said...

Click for
Quinnipiac University Poll

Sou said...

Oh for heaven's sake, DMH. Anonymous was right - you sound just like a typical Tea Partier and climate science denier.

"It's all too complicated" - sheesh, where have I read that before? WUWT is full of that - only about climate not about people. And "the only science is physics" and "social science isn't science". Talk about being close minded and defeatist. I'd even say arrogant except that I doubt you are researcher in physical sciences either. Not when your job is to pull apart surveys, quite possibly for political purposes and as you say, provided you are paid a hefty sum.

Yet for all your big talk, you can't say what you'd do differently. Let me give you some choices - door knocking in every city, town and farm house; standing in a shopping mall with a folder or tablet; I don't imagine you'd go for email or internet surveys (invited or otherwise) since you don't like that new-fangled invention called the telephone.

From what you wrote you'd dismiss out of hand a survey that polled every single US citizen, saying that what they say one day might be different from what they say the next. Or you'd complain that it didn't include expats and US people working overseas therefore wasn't comprehensive enough. Or maybe that it didn't include dead people and those not yet born.

Kind of like you can't study weather because a cloud that will be there one day won't be there the next.

You can't even keep your surveys straight. The race survey isn't just New Hampshire, it's the survey in the main article that's New Hampshire, and that was part of a long term series of studies and was able to compare the NH population with the national population and did so.

All your multitude of comments say to me is that you will not accept any survey of people's attitudes even if all were to point to similar results. You won't even bother to read them before mouthing off. You're a people science denier :(

KR said...

DMH - Just what kind of survey on these topics _would_ you find reasonable from a methodological point of view? What would you do differently to determine the population response to these questions? You've stated a number of objections; if you have relevant expertise to raise issues, you should have the expertise to suggest improvements in methodology.

So far you have questioned the methods used without suggesting what you feel _should_ have been done. No offense intended, but that really gives the impression of not liking the survey topic, rather than the survey methodology, of disliking the conclusions. And disliking the results isn't a valid objection to the methodology.