Friday, January 23, 2015

Recovering the Republican Center: Moderates Force Compromise on Abortion Bill

Today's hopeful sign:  moderates within the Republican coalition in the House of Representative pushed back against the far right on their standard abortion bill.  As a result, the Republican leadership was forced - or, as I hope, allowed - to drop one of the most controversial and punishing requirements.

The bill would forbid abortions after 20 weeks, which is now the Republican unifying position.  It would have allowed an exception in cases of rape, which is a standard American position.  The contentious point was whether women would have to report the rape to police to qualify.  The far right said yes.  The moderates, especially more moderate women, said no.  The moderates won.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Presbyterians Are Optimistic Trusters

I am analyzing new data from the Presbyterian Panel, a survey of Presbyterian Church (USA) members and leaders.

One comparison I am interested in is with an important baseline table from the 1972 American National Election Survey.  That survey's table crossed the "are you an optimist or a pessimist?" question with the "do you think most people can be trusted?" question.

I am interested in this issue, because I think trusters, especially optimistic trusters, are the people most likely to undertake Tocquevillian projects of community improvement.

The result:

Proportions of Americans (from the American National Election Survey 1972):

Optimistic Trusters: 35%
Pessimistic Trusters: 13
Optimistic Mistrusters: 30
Pessimistic Mistrusters: 23

Proportion of Presbyterian members (from the Presbyterian Panel 2014):

Optimistic Trusters: 65%
Pessimistic Trusters: <1
Optimistic Mistrusters: 26
Pessimistic Mistrusters: 9