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Old 02-15-2018, 11:13 AM
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Does living in a high density area cause people to vote Democratic? Or...?

I think this may be better as a debate topic, although I'd like to think there's some facts that would help answer the question, hence I post it here. It seems as if there's a fairly strong positive correlation between population density and liberal voting, i.e. - in higher population density areas, people tend to vote Democratic, and in lower density areas, Republican. I'm presuming that there's a cause/effect relationship there, but if there is, in what direction does it mainly go?
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Old 02-15-2018, 12:11 PM
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Without question urban areas tend to be more liberal than rural areas. Just look at an election map of the US and the vast majority is red with the blue strongholds being large cities.

The reasons for this are debatable however and probably better suited for GD than GQ in my opinion.

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Old 02-15-2018, 02:07 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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There are at least 4 reasons for this, maybe more.

1. High density urban areas tend to be full of 'out-groups'. Non-whites, immigrants, non-christians, LGBT, etc. Out groups are treated poorly by republicans and as a result they tend to identify with the democrats. Rural areas tend to be full of in-groups. Whites, native born, christians, heterosexuals, etc.

2. People who score high on the personality trait 'openness to experience' tend to prefer to live in large cities. Large cities offer more novelty and diversity, which is appealing to people with this personality trait. Openness to experience is also correlated with political liberalism

3. High density urban areas are more attractive to the highly educated. Among white people at least, being highly educated makes you more democratic (or less republican). Trump won the high school educated whites by about 37 points. He won college educated whites by 3 points.

4. Exposure to diversity reduces authoritarianism and fear of diversity. Large cities have more diversity, which I would assume reduce authoritarian personality traits. Authoritarianism is connected to being a republican. The more exposed to multiculturalism you have, in many instances the less threatening you find it.
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Old 02-15-2018, 02:23 PM
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Steve Sailer argues that "Affordable Family Formation" explains why some regions of the country vote Republican:

http://www.vdare.com/posts/affordabl...to-gops-future
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Old 02-15-2018, 03:45 PM
Tatterdemalion Tatterdemalion is offline
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My own opinion is that people who live in more densely populated situations are aware that libertarian philosophy doesn't really work in cities. Everything you do has an affect on someone else, and vice-versa.

People who live in more rural situations, can fool themselves into thinking that they don't need to consider their neighbors.

There is also probably a self-selecting aspect to it also.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:20 PM
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1. High density urban areas tend to be full of 'out-groups'. Non-whites, immigrants, non-christians, LGBT, etc.
Start with that, then consider: if you are a misfit, you probably would like to finally be among your own kind and cease to be the only person you know (or one of the few) in some smalltown or rural American setting. So you go somewhere where there are so freaking many people that even if you're not merely an exception to the rule but an exception to the exception (etc) you can find others like yourself, maybe even an entire part of town.

And if you are a misfit, you would probably prefer a more formal social contract with the others of your species, rather than having to deal with the weird amalgamation of formal and informal laws and expectations that govern general society. In a formal structure, you can argue for and perhaps obtain recognition in the name of fairness of your right to be different without being subjected to unnecessary judgmental mistreatments. Informal social rules such as expectations and scripted behaviors and learned patterns of interaction etc don't come with any kind of forum in which to ever discuss the rightness of treatment or to petition that they be changed.

Smalltown and rural America is at least superficially homogenous and it runs on patterns of informal rules that assume homogeneity, a fixed number of social roles and ways of being in the world. That works for people who aren't exceptional. Such people often find formal social contracts intrusive, controlling, authoritarian; they don't experience the informal-rules structure as if it existed as rules at all, so they think the way they life, the way they prefer to live, is a world nearly empty of rules, or else they think of those rules as the Natural Way, rules that humans didn't make but which were instead just magically always already there.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:42 PM
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There are at least 4 reasons for this, maybe more.

1. High density urban areas tend to be full of 'out-groups'. Non-whites, immigrants, non-christians, LGBT, etc. Out groups are treated poorly by republicans and as a result they tend to identify with the democrats. Rural areas tend to be full of in-groups. Whites, native born, christians, heterosexuals, etc.

2. People who score high on the personality trait 'openness to experience' tend to prefer to live in large cities. Large cities offer more novelty and diversity, which is appealing to people with this personality trait. Openness to experience is also correlated with political liberalism

3. High density urban areas are more attractive to the highly educated. Among white people at least, being highly educated makes you more democratic (or less republican). Trump won the high school educated whites by about 37 points. He won college educated whites by 3 points.

4. Exposure to diversity reduces authoritarianism and fear of diversity. Large cities have more diversity, which I would assume reduce authoritarian personality traits. Authoritarianism is connected to being a republican. The more exposed to multiculturalism you have, in many instances the less threatening you find it.
I agree with all of these. I think Tatterdemalion hits on the fifth reason. Folks living in rural areas don't really need a lot of government. A number of things work fairly well at low densities, such as minimal infrastructure, policing, education. As societies get larger and more complex, you really need governments to step in to provide these things. Urban-dwellers are exposed to these needs on a daily basis, and tend to reflexively oppose the party that wants to reduce government. In the past twenty-four hours, I've gone for a run in a city park, taken public transportation, used public water and sewer, ducked into a public library to kill a few minutes and use the bathroom, and was exposed to countless homeless folks, wishing we could have more services to help them. A guy living twenty minutes outside the tri-cities in central Washington is unlikely to have had any of these experiences in the past 24 hours, and probably values them less.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:45 PM
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Fun and insightful Cracked article on the subject.
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Old 02-15-2018, 04:53 PM
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In addition to what has been stated, I think the more homogeneous the area, the more conservative the population. Less densely populated areas tend to be more homogeneous, and also less tolerant to things they think are out of the norm. Higher-density areas tend to have more different kinds of people living in close quarters, so they are forced to accept one another's diversity and get along.

There is also some conjecture that people with passports are more liberal-minded as well, which jibes with what has been said here.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:01 PM
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Cities provide better access to "socialized" services and have high enough populations to support a variety of options.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:49 PM
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When my parents moved from Philly to the 'burbs in 1955, they continued to vote and be Democrats. But it is known that a great many people who made similar moves did switch parties; at least that is what I have read. Why? Well, the obvious conjecture is that they are social chameleons; they take on the coloration of their neighbors, over the back conversations and the like.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:13 PM
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Like most questions like this, the answer is both, for reasons stated above.

I just wanted to add more explicitly why outgroups would congregate in a city: because more people in one place means there will be more people who are in the outgroup, allowing the outgroup to form its own community. Then other people from that outgroup go to that community, making it even bigger, which then brings more people from the outgroup.

I'm not even against more rural groups having less government intrusion, as long as they keep a bare minimum when it comes to fighting bigotry. I just hate that they influence city life. For instance, guns are fine in the country--maybe even helpful when you need to defend yourself before the police arrive. But they are a problem in cities. So treating the two differently would go a long way in helping with the problem.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:37 PM
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When my parents moved from Philly to the 'burbs in 1955, they continued to vote and be Democrats. But it is known that a great many people who made similar moves did switch parties; at least that is what I have read. Why? Well, the obvious conjecture is that they are social chameleons; they take on the coloration of their neighbors, over the back conversations and the like.
I can't say that's not an influence, but I'd argue that some of it is how less important the liberal stuff seems in your everyday life. People who can live in suburbia tend to be better off. If you moved out of the city, then you likely did not need the services the city provides. And you're not in a truly rural area where there are usually a ton of working poor people.

You're also likely more predisposed to the rugged individual concept, and often retreating from the overstimulation of the city environment, which correlates with some of what was said earlier. You're already selecting the people more likely to sympathize with conservative ideas anyways.
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:53 PM
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One of the most ignored rules of statistics: correlation is not causation.

Topic: do high density areas CAUSE people to vote democratic?
post: there's a strong CORRELATION.

To explain the logical error simply: it's equally likely that people with democratic leaning prefer high density areas. If that's not clear enough, there's always the tired old 'everybody who ate carrots in 1872 is now dead' (replace "ate carrots" with any other common activity and it's still true).
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Old 02-15-2018, 06:54 PM
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People who live in more rural situations, can fool themselves into thinking that they don't need to consider their neighbors.
But they're not fooling themselves; it's pretty much true, IMO. I have lived in a very rural area on 15 acres for almost 20 years, and I have very little interaction with my neighbors.

People that live in rural areas tend to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficient people have a skeptical view of government and the "services" it provides. Suffice to say, many people who live in rural areas are conservative or libertarian for this reason.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:00 PM
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Without question urban areas tend to be more liberal than rural areas. Just look at an election map of the US and the vast majority is red with the blue strongholds being large cities.

The reasons for this are debatable however and probably better suited for GD than GQ in my opinion.
I could be wrong, but I believe farmers tend to vote republican. Areas with lots of farms will have very low population.

Also, college towns can skew this. I recall hearing that the areas around UW-Milwaukee were heavily republican. The reason being that even though there's so many college students there, they're mostly renting. Also, they tend to be renting from career landlords (ie business owners) or renting in higher class neighborhoods than they'd be living in if they owned a house. IOW the students may be blue, but the homeowners and landlords are red.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:15 PM
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Cities provide better access to "socialized" services and have high enough populations to support a variety of options.
Very good point, and I'd like to emphasise this further ... rural areas often have worse large-scale public services (like, for instance, hospitals and high schools) - the excellent world-class ones are generally found in the middle of the city. So city-dwellers get more access to the benefits of government services that way too - the best examples of the service are likely to be where they live
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:18 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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In addition to what has been stated, I think the more homogeneous the area, the more conservative the population. Less densely populated areas tend to be more homogeneous, and also less tolerant to things they think are out of the norm. Higher-density areas tend to have more different kinds of people living in close quarters, so they are forced to accept one another's diversity and get along.

There is also some conjecture that people with passports are more liberal-minded as well, which jibes with what has been said here.
I've heard the opposite, more homogeneous areas tend to become more liberal. At least regarding things like social welfare and redistribution. They are probably more conservative on social issues, I'd assume. But even then, places like Sweden tend to be more socially liberal too (that could be changing with an influx of immigrants from the middle east & africa).

In homogeneous societies, people don't worry that 'the others' will benefit from welfare, redistribution, unions, etc. whereas in cultures with a lot of racial, religious, ethnic and cultural tensions there is a fear of creating a social safety net for fear that the others will benefit.

Vermont is very homogeneous, and it is the most liberal state in the union. So homogeneity plays a role, but there are other factors too.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:36 PM
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An interesting little consequence of this: The more Republicans live in a county (or other geographic region of roughly fixed size), the more strongly that county votes for the Democrats. The most liberal county in Ohio had ten times as many Trump voters as the most conservative county.

Quote:
Quoth Crafter_Man:

But they're not fooling themselves; it's pretty much true, IMO. I have lived in a very rural area on 15 acres for almost 20 years, and I have very little interaction with my neighbors.

People that live in rural areas tend to be self-sufficient.
There are a few truly self-sufficient folks out there, and most of them are rural. But most rural folks are just as dependent on others as the city folk are. Look around your house: How many of the things in it did you make yourself? How many of them could you even make yourself?
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:59 PM
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But they're not fooling themselves; it's pretty much true, IMO. I have lived in a very rural area on 15 acres for almost 20 years, and I have very little interaction with my neighbors.

People that live in rural areas tend to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficient people have a skeptical view of government and the "services" it provides. Suffice to say, many people who live in rural areas are conservative or libertarian for this reason.
I'm not sure I agree with that. My parents live on 17 acres in rural North Carolina, just outside the triangle, so I am familiar with the mindset.

However, my parents lives would be a whole lot better, it the people, and companies, who live upstream from them would quit dumping crap in the water supply. It takes something like the EPA to deal with that. Then you get the "Live free or die" types saying no one can tell them not to go dumping their garbage wherever they want to.

There's a lot of people in West Virginia, or the Mississippi Delta who live in rural circumstances, and have no recourse against the more powerful corporate interests who live upstream and up wind. That's what you need government and all those regulations and things that the Republicans are trying to get rid of.

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Old 02-15-2018, 11:02 PM
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This is probably better suited to Great Debates.

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Old 02-15-2018, 11:46 PM
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I live in one the more rural places in Arkansas. It's not that I don't interact with my neighbors. I have no neighbors. I am Democratic and kind of a misfit. I have no urge to be in a more densely populated area. I prefer non-conservative people to be around but I am not in the market for acquaintances. I like being on my own, out here. Mr.Wrekker and my kids are about all I need. To be a part of the human species I volunteer, and I have a few friends in that endeavour. That's enough. For me. YMMV.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:01 AM
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But they're not fooling themselves; it's pretty much true, IMO. I have lived in a very rural area on 15 acres for almost 20 years, and I have very little interaction with my neighbors.

People that live in rural areas tend to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficient people have a skeptical view of government and the "services" it provides. Suffice to say, many people who live in rural areas are conservative or libertarian for this reason.
What services do rural people feel they don't need that urban people need?

Public transit is about the only public service I can think of that urban people benefit from that rural people do not. Rural areas still need roads, schools, police, fire departments, military, medicaid, medicare, social security, WIC, SNAP, etc.

Rural people may be better at self sufficiency in some other ways though. I'd wager they are better at fixing/repairing their own homes and cars, growing their own food, obtaining wood for heat (rather than using electric or propane), etc.

But as far as government services, it seems about the same.

Also rural counties that are minority-majority aren't conservative. Only the white rural counties are conservative.
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:52 AM
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... Exposure to diversity reduces authoritarianism ... more diversity, which I would assume reduce authoritarian personality traits. Authoritarianism is connected to being a republican. ...
Sorry to mangle your post like that, but I was trying to highlight the points I had this question about: Do you have cites for those points?
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Old 02-16-2018, 03:00 AM
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I am currently living in a very rural area in Eastern Europe: out houses; heat, cooking, and hot water from burning wood, only one paved road; pigs, cows, and chickens everywhere; etc.

I can build a house of less than 600 sqft with no permit whatsoever, get my water from a spring, and put in an outhouse. It would cost less than $20,000. If, like my neighbors, I planted a large garden and had chickens I could live on a couple hundred dollars a month.

It would be much more difficult and expensive if I had to get permits, put in code compliant plumbing and electricity, have an engineer do percolation tests on the soil so I could put in a septic tank, pay property taxes, pay for water, and do all the other things you have to do in a more urban area (for good reasons).

I'm a city boy and life long liberal, but I can now understand the appeal of the "smaller government" ideology. I think liberals need to understand that one size does not fit all. You don't solve the problem of inner city gang violence by limiting the rights of a farmer in Iowa who wants to shoot varmints.

At the same time, there needs to be a base level of human rights for people where every they live.

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Old 02-16-2018, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Quoth Wesley Clark:

Public transit is about the only public service I can think of that urban people benefit from that rural people do not. Rural areas still need roads, schools, police, fire departments, military, medicaid, medicare, social security, WIC, SNAP, etc.
In fact, some of those things, like roads, rural folks need even more of. If your nearest neighbor is ten miles away, then you, personally, need at least ten miles of road. Probably more, if you and your neighbor ever want to get anywhere else.
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:36 AM
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Folks living in rural areas don't really need a lot of government.
Well they sure do get most of the government spending for folks that don't need it. How about you give up some of those farm subsidies.
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Old 02-16-2018, 09:41 AM
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AIUI, it's more that liberal people move to cities, or are born and grew up in cities, than that cities make people liberal.
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:21 PM
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Well they sure do get most of the government spending for folks that don't need it. How about you give up some of those farm subsidies.
I'll give up all my farm subsidies if you give up making posts where you haven't spent five seconds figuring out anything about the context of the person you're responding to. (Hint: I've never gotten a farm subsidy in my life.)
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:32 PM
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Sorry to mangle your post like that, but I was trying to highlight the points I had this question about: Do you have cites for those points?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...t-about-trump/

scoring high on authoritarianism is connected to being more likely to support the GOP presidential candidate.

As far as exposure to diversity and authoritarianism, I have read that going to college reduces authoritarianism because it increases exposure to different kinds of people. I believe I read that in Bob Altemeyer's book 'the authoritarians'.

However going online, I found this article.

http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/688078

Quote:
Using a national sample, we find that in white areas with minimal diversity, authoritarianism had no impact on racial prejudice, political intolerance, and attitudes toward immigration. As diversity rises, however, authoritarianism plays an increasingly dominant role in political judgment. In diverse environments, authoritarians become more racially, ethnically, and politically intolerant and nonauthoritarians less so
According to that, exposure to diversity makes prejudice worse among authoritarians, but reduces prejudice among non-authoritarians. It makes no mention of whether exposure to diversity increases or decreases authoritarianism, but exposure to diversity makes racial intolerance worse among authoritarians, but makes intolerance better among non-authoritarians.
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:35 PM
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Living in a high density area promotes the belief that we are "all in this together". That, in turn, promotes voting Democratic.
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Old 02-19-2018, 05:57 AM
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There are at least 4 reasons for this, maybe more.

1. High density urban areas tend to be full of 'out-groups'. Non-whites, immigrants, non-christians, LGBT, etc. Out groups are treated poorly by republicans and as a result they tend to identify with the democrats. Rural areas tend to be full of in-groups. Whites, native born, christians, heterosexuals, etc.
I really think this is key. It is harder to be homophobic when you're not thinking of "the gays," but rather thinking of Bob and Richard who live three floors down, and Bob is a computer programmer, and Jim is working on his Master's degree, and you play Catan with them sometimes. It's harder to be Islamophobic when you meet Samir in your book club at the community college.
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:30 AM
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People that live in rural areas tend to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficient people have a skeptical view of government and the "services" it provides. Suffice to say, many people who live in rural areas are conservative or libertarian for this reason.
For being so "self sufficient", rural folk sure like their food stamps:

Rural families rely more on food stamps than those in large cities, study shows
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Old 02-19-2018, 06:39 AM
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IMHO it has nothing to do with Big Government. Conservatives are find with government spending so long as it's to fund military or provide corporate subsidies.

It has to do with rural and less dense suburban areas providing fewer experiences and interactions that challenge the thinking of people who live there. These areas also experience a significant "brain drain" as those seeking more education and diversity tend to head off to the big cities.

So what you are left with is a relatively homogenous, isolated group who gain most of their information about the outside world from TV and internet.

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Old 02-19-2018, 09:50 AM
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So back to my OP - is one "cause" more likely and prominent than the other? I.e. - do conservative people move to rural areas because of the perceived fit for them, or does living in a rural area cause people to be more conservative? Or replace "conservative" with "liberal" and replace "rural" with "urban."

(This line of questioning comes from reading "What's The Matter With Kansas," where a woman is quoted as saying that living in a city makes people Democrats.)
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Old 02-19-2018, 10:22 AM
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So back to my OP - is one "cause" more likely and prominent than the other? I.e. - do conservative people move to rural areas because of the perceived fit for them, or does living in a rural area cause people to be more conservative? Or replace "conservative" with "liberal" and replace "rural" with "urban."

(This line of questioning comes from reading "What's The Matter With Kansas," where a woman is quoted as saying that living in a city makes people Democrats.)
I think you are overemphasizing the impact of people relocating, and also overemphasizing the nature of "cause".

I am of the opinion that it is more likely that a person is born with a political predisposition. Relocating from a less urban area to an urban area for "out-groups" is definitely happening. And I would submit that there is a segment of the population who tend toward conservatism who move out of the cities. But a great majority of people stay near where they were born. But I really don't think people migrate based on political persuasion. Even in an urban area, a conservative can have an active political life with like minded individuals.

Regarding "cause", I think it is more subtle than that. It is more that the predominate surrounding culture creates a comfort level in displaying ones political propensities and intensities. Just like the out-group individuals finding kindred spirits in a more populated area, conservatives are more likely to find kindred spirits in less populated areas, so in both cases ones outward displays of tribal loyalty are more overt. But it's not that either environment "caused" a belief.
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  #37  
Old 02-19-2018, 05:30 PM
AHunter3 AHunter3 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CC View Post
do conservative people move to rural areas because of the perceived fit for them, or does living in a rural area cause people to be more conservative?
Post #6 was my attempt to answer this question.

TL/DR version: Many of the exceptional / misfitty people who have a reason to be liberal tend to move to the cities, or to immigrate there from outside the country.
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