Thursday, September 17, 2009

Always on the lookout for interesting info

Browsing through Psychology Today (October 2009 issue), I read this snippet about who people refuse to vote for, as part of a larger gathering of information about politics and atheism.

According to a 2007 Gallup poll, percentages of people who won't vote for specific groups:
(read the data to yourself like so: 53% of respondents said they would refuse to vote for atheists)

53% - Atheists
43% - Gays
42% - People over 72
24% - Mormons
12% - Hispanics
11% - Women
7% - Jews
5% - Blacks
4% - Catholics

Wish I had seen the questions/script for this survey. Are we talking voting for President, or voting for congresspersons? Mayors? School boards? Also wish I knew more about the sample of this survey. What was the sample size? Average age? State of residence? Political affiliations? Surveys can be deceptive. (Always question what you read!)

But still. Interesting look at our prejudices, eh? What does this say about how people make assumptions about others? Where do your biases fit in these categories? My prejudices - I would be less likely to vote for an old (70+) male from the South, for example - because I would assume he is 1) a "good old boy", 2) an ultra-right-leaning Republican, 3) anti-feminist, and 4) racist, to name a few.

I wonder what some other categories would be. What about, percentage of people who wouldn't vote for someone who is not a parent? Or someone who was an addict? Or someone who was once on welfare? Or someone with a disability?


Dave said...

Ironic but understandable that voters don't vote for atheists.

Ironic because, like gays, atheists are a group that has had to reject a part of their heritage. Unlike gays, they are not physically motivated to do so --- they reject this heritage purely by the strength of their convictions. I would argue that all else being equal, someone who has rebuilt their own morality from scratch will have better judgment on moral issues than someone who has spent the same amount of time internalizing the "revealed" moralities embedded in the twisted tales of church doctrine.

Understandable because The Enlightenment didn't stick. Even though our government is as pure an application of Enlightenment philosophy as exists in the world, the beneficiaries of that government somehow believe that religion is the source of its morality, and they believe that someone like them (i.e. someone religious) is most likely to represent their interests. Most voters don't understand the atheist mind, and therefore don't trust it.

I can vouch for the converse: as an atheist I implicitly trust the judgment of the average religious person less than the average atheist. In spite of my loathing for everything the Republican Party stands for, I would find it very hard to vote for a Christian/Muslim/Jewish Democrat racing against an Atheist Republican.

Jennifer said...

An Atheist Republican? Isn't that like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster? I've heard of them, I've just never seen one of them myself.