Civility out of context

I fielded a survey recently, and this out of context result really intrigues me. For the non-quantitative people, these are regression results that show how each variable predicts the outcome variable with all the others controlled. The outcome here is agreement with the statement, “When most Americans debate issues facing the country, they are more civil today compared to ten years ago.” I’m looking at blog use, ideology and partisanship in this study, and here are the predictive results (the ones with the footnote symbols are statistically significant):

Gender (Female) .03
Age -.05
Race (White) -.19***
Education -.11*
Income .01
Partisanship (Republican) .10†
Ideology (Conservative) -.04
Conservative Blog Use .23**
Liberal Blog Use .03
*** p < .001, ** p < .01, * p < .05, † p < .1


I’m pretty sure that the partisanship and conservative blog use results are manifestations of those individuals remembering 2001 as a time when everybody was being so mean to George W. Bush all the time. It’s likely also the reverse — Democrats seeing the current environment as severely uncivil — but the distribution of the blog use data suggests to me it’s more the former than the latter. More on this at MAPOR next month.

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