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Friends and enemies

Gay marriage is a useful marker. It’s an issue that’s rather orthogonal to atheism, but we can still use it as a parameter to help us identify our allies (it is not, of course, a perfect or even entirely sufficient marker, but it’s still kind of cool to see how it splits the country into the the America I want to live in and the America I hope to see in the dustbin of history). Here’s a poll on legalizing gay marriage that breaks respondents down into various categories.

The proponents of Bad America: the Tea Party and religious-values Republicans.

The vanguard of Good America: Urban liberals and the agnostic left.

Maybe I should flip my metrics around. The real marker for regressive, bad ol’ Americans is their conflation of God and country.

Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    The “Old School Republicans” one is the most interesting. It’s almost exactly the same as the “All Adults” line, at least in the overall pro and anti numbers.

    I’m not exactly sure what an “Old School Republican” is but it probably resembles what I’d be if I had my druthers–socially progressive but fiscally conservative. Really fiscally conservative, not what the borrow-and-spend R’s are doing these days. An Eisenhower Republican, perhaps. I never left the Republican party. It left me.

  2. says

    Back in the 1970s, the California state senate district I grew up in was represented by an “Old School Republican” of the kind that is nearly extinct today. When legislation was proposed to wipe out California’s antique sodomy laws, he voted for it and created a panic among his more narrow-minded right-wing brethren (and “breathren” is literally and strictly correct because all of his senate colleagues were men). He explained his vote by saying that bedroom activities between consenting adults were not the government’s business. His vote made the difference and the measure passed. Gov. Brown signed it and all of the state’s ancient sexual proscriptions were stricken from the books.

    Like I said, Republicans like that are all but extinct and you can’t find any sitting in California’s state senate today.

  3. Sili says

    What Dick asked.

    “Do it yourself”, though, tends to be rickety and not very good, so perhaps it’s not a bad descriptor.

    –o–

    Interesting to see how the Tea Party Movement is all about the economy and the overreach of government.

  4. mattand says

    Does anyone else think these categories were pulled out of the poll authors’ asses?

    I mean, pro-government conservative? I’m very skeptical that whoever coined that phrase has been following American politics in the last 20 years.

    And to paraphrase Pen @2, WTF is a “DIY Democrat”? Someone who voted for Obama and makes their own furniture?

  5. anteprepro says

    I had to hunt a little, but I found a graphic explaining the categories and presenting more data here.

    Interestingly, the Agnostic Left is consistently worse on the issues than Urban Liberals, even if it is by a thin margin. But just look at “Most People who don’t get ahead have only themselves to blame” for a stark example. I am disappointed. I think we have gotten watered down by Randroids or something.

    So, Pen:
    DIY Democrats are a small group of white, rural Democrats with little income and education, who want them some small gubmint, and also apparently hate gays for some reason. They are also by far more likely to vote for Romney. Not sure what makes them a distinct demographic, but there ya go. Oh yeah, and Republican “Window Shoppers” (who are apparently mostly female and non-white) are more progressive than DIY Democrats.

    mattand: The categories were pulled out of the pollsters asses. The categories were created due to similarities in answers discovered via cluster analysis. The names were made up to describe those similarities. Pro-government Republicans are religious social conservatives that don’t care if the government is “larger”.

  6. mattand says

    @anteprepro and LykeX:

    Thanks for the info. Just seems like a roundabout way to get to the apparently obvious “Democrats are cool with gay marriage” statement.

    On the bright side, if some GOP mouthbreather says “Prove it!”, I’ve got evidence now.

  7. christophburschka says

    Unfamiliar with the terms “DIY democrat” and “deliberator”.

    The numbers look roughly as expected, though I’m a bit surprised at the “old-school Republicans” figure. And that the Tea Party actually holds the record with 94%.

    I assumed so far that the Tea Party’s identifying characteristic was hardcore anti-social libertarianism, and the religious bigotry was merely incidentally overrepresented. Not so.

  8. anteprepro says

    Here’s a concise description of each group.

    Urban: I’m the only sane one here, aren’t I?
    God and Gov’t: Jesus approves of helping the poor!
    Agnostic: Religious values are awful, but people should pull themselves up by their bootstraps!
    DIY: ‘Democrats’ are the ones that oppose government, right?

    Tea Party: Fuck government, fuck secularism, AMERICAN DREAM!
    Old School: I hate government so hard that it takes a back seat to my reasonable stances on social issues.
    Religious: Screw government, screw secularism (and maybe people sometimes get screwed over, sort of).
    Window Shopper: ‘Republicans’ are the ones that support equality, right?
    Pro-gov’t: Meh to government, screw secularism, and people get screwed over.

  9. Pen says

    Thanks for the explanations and link. There’s some strange people out there. I notice how it’s the poorer groups who seem most opposed to taxing the rich. That’s strangely generous of them.

  10. Randomfactor says

    Like I said, Republicans like that are all but extinct and you can’t find any sitting in California’s state senate today.

    You could until recently find their mirror image, of course–Roy Ashburn, closeted, voted for all the repressive shit until his involuntary outing after a DUI incident. He’s running for a local office now in Bakersfield (he was term-limited out of his Senate seat.)

  11. christophburschka says

    Choice quote from the page: “We look at our coins and it says ‘in God we trust.’ I think there was a lot less separation when our government was formed.”

    headdesk.

  12. Psych-Oh says

    My parents would fit the “Old School” Republican category. They are also the group that is currently unhappy with the direction of the Republican party. They still belong to it (I don’t understand why), but have been supportive of Democratic and Independent candidates.

  13. anteprepro says

    “We look at our coins and it says ‘in God we trust.’ I think there was a lot less separation when our government was formed.”

    I can’t even feel disgust or disappointed over this specific idiocy anymore. It is pure comedy to me now. If only everyone understood why it is hilarious.

  14. KG says

    I’m not exactly sure what an “Old School Republican” is but it probably resembles what I’d be if I had my druthers–socially progressive but fiscally conservative. – Trebuchet

    Oh, you mean confused. In practice, “socially progressive” without being willing to spend a lot of money on it means socially regressive.

  15. consciousness razor says

    I’m not exactly sure what an “Old School Republican” is but it probably resembles what I’d be if I had my druthers–socially progressive but fiscally conservative.

    As for myself, I’d rather not be a well-meaning fool or a disingenuous asshole.

  16. says

    Old School Republican and Agnostic Left both sound libertarian to me, I wonder how they data would look if you were trying to capture the libertarian, libertarian-leaning demographic.

    It’s fascinating to me that ~25% of each party is only there because of half the issues, while being hostile to the other half.

  17. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I clicked through and I can’t find an explanation of how they define the categories. Anyone know?

  18. says

    It’s also interesting that the tea party is the only segment that had no undecided whatsoever.

    It isn’t surprising that self-doubt is not one of their strong points.

  19. says

    the tea party is the only segment that had no undecided

    There can be no doubt when God (or Rush, a good substitute) gives you all the answers.

    And I suspect that the 3% of tea partiers who “strongly support” gay marriage heard the question wrong.

  20. Ogvorbis: faucibus desultor singulari says

    And I suspect that the 3% of tea partiers who “strongly support” gay marriage heard the question wrong.

    Maybe they heard, “Do you strongly support gay murder?”

  21. schweinhundt says

    Trying to get my mind wrapped around more Religious Right respondents supporting gay marriage and separation of church than Tea Party respondents…

  22. llewelly says

    Note to those unfamiliar with Kaiser Family Foundation polls:
    “agnostic and left” does not mean “agnostic about god and left”.

    It means “people who think democrats are just as bad as republicans”.

    And yes, it is dominated by Randroids, Libertarians, and other unfeeling scum.

  23. Ichthyic says

    The “Old School Republicans” one is the most interesting. It’s almost exactly the same as the “All Adults” line, at least in the overall pro and anti numbers.

    indeed.

    This is exactly why Obama so closely resembles what would have been the core values of the Republican Party about 40 years ago.

    because that’s where the country is now. The neocons of old put together a national strategy in the 70s/80s that has come to fruition 100% in the US.

    now they can retire in peace, having accomplished their mission.

  24. Ichthyic says

    Trying to get my mind wrapped around more Religious Right respondents supporting gay marriage and separation of church than Tea Party respondents…

    it’s all about authoritarianism.

    Really.

  25. says

    I live there now. :(

    You poor sod, Randomfactor. That stretch of blood-red California isn’t going to improve any time soon. I’m glad to be away from it. If only the University of California Board of Regents had been smart enough to place the tenth UC campus in Visalia, the county seat of Tulare County, it would have created a small foothold for some rational thought in that stretch of the Central Valley. Cal State Bakersfield can’t do it by itself!

  26. Francisco Bacopa says

    There can be no doubt when God (or Rush, a good substitute) gives you all the answers.

    Rush is a good substitute. They are a triune God. They told me to “Mold a new reality, closer to the heart”.

    While I do not favor blasphemy laws, I respectfully request that you do not use the name of the Holy Northern Godhead to refer to the Pestilent One. My fellow worshipers and I prefer that you refer to the Pestilent One as “Limbaugh”. We hope that everyone who is not a follower of the Pestilent One will be sensitive enough not to refer to him by the Threefold Sacred Name.

  27. Midnight Rambler says

    “We look at our coins and it says ‘in God we trust.’ I think there was a lot less separation when our government was formed.”

    I can’t even feel disgust or disappointed over this specific idiocy anymore. It is pure comedy to me now. If only everyone understood why it is hilarious.

    To be fair, “In God We Trust” has been on money since the early 1800’s, it just wasn’t officially the motto until recently.

  28. Midnight Rambler says

    anteprepro @12: I think you summed it up a lot better than the WaPo did. Also, note that among the so-called “pro-government Republicans”, 62% still want smaller government and 86% say government controls too much.

  29. Ichthyic says

    To be fair, “In God We Trust” has been on money since the early 1800′s

    SOME money, not all, yes?

    only on coins, and only since around the 1860s IIRC.

  30. Ichthyic says

    …also, I do believe it was a response to the turmoil surrounding the civil war?

    just to be clear, it was NOT a slogan used on any american currency until the mid 1800s. This, before some clown starts rewriting history in the media to claim it has “always been the intent of the ‘Founding Fathers’ to have this slogan on our money.

  31. Amphiox says

    To be fair, “In God We Trust” has been on money since the early 1800′s

    And considering the current state of the US economy, it would appear that this trust has been empirically demonstrated to be misplaced.

  32. sprocket says

    Interesting results but not entirely surprising.

    Pretty sure all these homophobes commenting at The Globe and Mail story every day would be in Church every Sunday regardless of their politics. Bugs the hell out of me when bigots comment every single time a Gay story is published there. So we Canadians can’t be too smug about having gay marriage. The straights who approve just sit on their hands.

  33. Rey Fox says

    Tangent: It’s funny that Americans use the term “dustbin” only when they’re talking about the one that belongs to History.

  34. Bjarni says

    Looks like someone’s been doing some segmentation analysis! (Is it a bit telling that the previous sentence gets an exclamation point from me?)

    Worth pointing out that yes, the names for the segments will be pulled from someone’s arse, as they’re just meant to be descriptive. What’s important is that they identify real clusters in patterns of how people responded to a set of questions. In other words, real segments, made-up names.

    Interesting stuff though, I’d love to see the line lengths adjusted to ‘weight’ for the size of each segment.

  35. nms says

    Agnostic left

    This phrase must make use of some sense of “left” with which I am unfamiliar.

  36. davem says

    Tangent: It’s funny that Americans use the term “dustbin” only when they’re talking about the one that belongs to History.

    Presumably because the ‘dustbin of history’ was Trotsky’s quote. ..and presumably it wasn’t an American who translated it from the Russian, I guess…

  37. birgerjohansson says

    It is interesting to compare the Regressians to the (west)* European conservatives. I don’t know about the Tories, but in Scandinavia gayness is a non-issue. So is atheism. You can find both among conservative members of parliament.
    — — — — — —
    *former East Bloc countries are of course 40 years behind on this issue. Hungarian right-wingers are in fear of the usual groups (Jews, gypsies and homosexuals).
    — — — — — — —
    Randomfactor: “I live there now. :( ”

    If MTV’s “Death Valley” had been a documentary it would actually have been a cool place.
    — — — — — — —
    “In God We Trust”
    Misspelling. It should be “in God and Trust” since the anti-trust laws were only introduced by Teddy Roosevelt** half a century later :-)
    **A dangerous leftie who believed captialism needed checks and balances.

  38. forkboy says

    @45
    The Tories are certainly more accomodating to homosexuality than they were when I was growing up in the 80s. They may still be utter bastards when it comes to the economy, doing there best to further increase the gap between rich & poor but they will tolerate gay people now. Well, the majority of the party will, there are still socially regressive nutballs, such as Priti Patel who would frankly fit in fell with the US Republicans, even the Teabaggers. And last year a Tory councillor in Wycombe was suspended from the party after writing this on Twitter about David Cameron’s “support” for gay marriage: “There is no doubt the PM is wrong on this issue. We may as well legalise marriage with animals, crude I concede but no apology.”

    Despite the obvious improvement of their position on gay rights issues it’s worth remembering that it was little over a decade ago that the Tories sacked a shadow secretary because he voted to repeal Clause 28, which barred schools from “promoting homosexuality”, which in real terms just meant treating gays as a normal issue in sex ed classes. Even David Cameron was against repealing this draconian law when he was elected MP in 2003. So while they are better than they were, they are still Tories & it’s worth remembering that.

  39. julietdefarge says

    The conflation of Gag and Country is surely a marker of a being a product of a school system where teachers lied to the children about American history.

  40. jamessweet says

    I found it interesting (though not entirely surprising) that “Old school Republicans” were ever-so-slightly on that Not Evil side of the line. There is a type of conservatism which I consider to be “wrong but valid”, i.e. it is part of a coherent philosophy, a reasonable “meta-politics” if you will, that nonetheless leads to sub-optimal outcomes most of the time. Still, a party ascribing to such values can be an important counterbalance in a government such as ours which ensures a two-party system.

    The modern GOP… is not that. I do not consider the modern GOP to be merely wrong, but also completely invalid. There is no coherent political philosophy whatsoever — no, not even “fuck the poor, make the rich richer”, because (for example) all analyses point to same-sex marriage as being an economic boon. I guess it’s coherent in the sense of “strategically fuck the poor and make the rich richer, even if that means tactically doing something stupid to get religious idiots on board with it”, but I don’t consider that valid in any sense.

  41. jimmauch says

    It is an intriguing dichotomy that a person can proudly proclaim himself an enlightened libertarian and in the very next breath be deeply concerned about whether the sex practices of his neighbors entitles them to have the rights that other families have. There seens to be no problem at all with having government in the business if policing good Christian marriages.

  42. ewanmacdonald says

    Their DIY Democrat quote was from a guy in Frisco, Texas. DIY Democrats are described as “Mostly white, have lower income and education, with a high proportion in rural areas.” The only one of those that applies to your average Frisco resident is “mostly white.” Maybe indicative of how tiny this group is. My understanding is that white, rural Dems largely migrated to the GOP as the Southern Strategy took hold. There can’t be that many left.

  43. nms says

    It is an intriguing dichotomy that a person can proudly proclaim himself an enlightened libertarian and in the very next breath be deeply concerned about whether the sex practices of his neighbors entitles them to have the rights that other families have. There seens to be no problem at all with having government in the business if policing good Christian marriages.

    Well, you see, libertarians believe in the non-aggression principle, which states that it is wrong to interfere with someone else’s right to self-determination. A married gay couple moving in next to one of these True Americans would be an act of aggression against their Good Christian Marriage, and therefore, a police matter.

  44. David Marjanović says

    I assumed so far that the Tea Party’s identifying characteristic was hardcore anti-social libertarianism, and the religious bigotry was merely incidentally overrepresented. Not so.

    I’ve always assumed the opposite: it’s Republican Jesus, St. Ronnie Raygun, and Gen. Boykin.

    I’m not exactly sure what an “Old School Republican” is but it probably resembles what I’d be if I had my druthers–socially progressive but fiscally conservative. – Trebuchet

    Oh, you mean confused. In practice, “socially progressive” without being willing to spend a lot of money on it means socially regressive.

    QFT!

    As I just said elsethread about Batman, money is the real superpower. Golden Rule: the one with the gold makes the rules. If the one with the gold isn’t the state, it will be Wal*Mart and/or the Koch brothers.

  45. says

    Does this also reveal the tea baggers are the racist and old segment of the religious right? Since “organized”, except when political flacks do it, can hardly be applied to tea baggers it’s been hard to figure out exactly who they are, except anti-social malcontents. I keep wondering if it is just a segment of the religious right who is also fed up churches too.

    Anyway, no wonder why the Repugs make the noise they do, just given their base.

  46. katansi says

    I don’t think gay marriage is an independent issue from atheism since there isn’t any opposition to it that’s grounded in a non-religious rationale. I believe if you want to fight against the insidiousness of religion then you have to fight for the things it attacks and against the exact reason it’s attacking them which here is *always* boils down to god says so. This is also why I think anti-racism and feminism need to matter in this crowd because that’s all steeped in religious garbage as well without any rational support.

  47. John Phillips, FCD says

    katansi, actually, while in my experience they are not a large number, there are homophobic atheists against gay marriage. We have even had the odd one pop up on Pharyngula every now and then. Some of who have defended their homophobia on Natural Selection grounds, i.e. they don’t have kids so shouldn’t get married, and with others it is due to the icky buttsecks factor. Some of the explicit anti-gay marriage atheists who have shown up here have tried to defend their position on states rights grounds. Some even willing to throw all other types of marriage under the bus to prevent the icky gay marriage.