12 votes

What's something that should be polled or surveyed more often?

Firstly, it seems pretty clear polling Hispanic/Latino people as one unified populace isn't working well, given how Cuban Americans have a large presence in the Republican party instead of the Democratic one and that ignoring the race of the people polled is likely very unhelpful and means statements made about Hispanic people probably don't apply to all or maybe most of them.

Secondly, while polling is largely associated with politics, I think it isn't the only place that it could be useful. For example, a large question in many relationship-related subreddits and is if something you do or would like to do is normal, and I think polling on what people want/would want from people they would partner with would be good. (Although this might be more a semi-pragmatic thing, given that a lot of this tlaking seems to think "normal" and "ok" are the same, which is not really true.)

11 comments

  1. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [3]
      the_funky_buddha
      Link Parent
      Why do I see that word used against liberals so much. Maybe I'm ignorant since I'm in a small town and surrounded by conservative types (few liberals here) who want to virtue-signal in every way...

      Liberals will lie to virtue signal

      Why do I see that word used against liberals so much. Maybe I'm ignorant since I'm in a small town and surrounded by conservative types (few liberals here) who want to virtue-signal in every way they can about how holy they are, how rich they are, how masculine or feminine they are (and those who have different genetics are freaks or lesser-than), how hard-working they are while often working no more or harder than more humble liberal friends who don't virtue-signal about it and the list goes on and on. It seems the conservative playbook now is to take criticisms and turn them around, aka, NO U. "Not a puppet, not a puppet. You're a puppet!"

      On the polling, I generally agree. Can we trust polls? Let's take a poll on that question.

      6 votes
      1. kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Conservative media is really good at pushing talking points with sticky names. "Cancel culture", "virtue signaling", etc. Each of these is associated with a real phenomenon, but conservative media...
        • Exemplary

        Why do I see that word used against liberals so much.

        Conservative media is really good at pushing talking points with sticky names. "Cancel culture", "virtue signaling", etc. Each of these is associated with a real phenomenon, but conservative media usually uses them as a way of going on the offensive and widening the partisan divide in a generally dishonest way. By consistently and repeatedly associating the left with these taking points, we're forced into playing defense and overlooking comparable examples on the right. Furthermore, because there is often a nugget of truth within the talking points’ one-sided overfitting, it often sparks a lot of infighting. Consider how amorphous “cancel culture” is as a term and how much arguing has gone on over its boundaries and parameters just in the abstract.

        The biggest issue, however, is the dishonesty, and that's what really comes at our expense. The rhetorical sleight of hand lies in what you identified: all of these terms apply to conservatives as well and capture largely non-partisan phenomena. Conservatives are masters of cancel culture and have been exercising it for years -- not just in terms of social repercussions but legislatively as well (just look at how quickly we saw actual legislation against critical race theory and trans students, for example). Meanwhile, I see constant virtue signaling from the countless blue line bumper stickers on cars on my way to work and the many Trump flags still flying in my neighborhood. Spin the clock back to my childhood and you have everyone putting Jesus fish decals on their car and wearing WWJD bracelets.

        We can point to stuff like this all we want, but the reasoning won’t land in the slightest because the conservative talking points go hand in hand with one of the underpinnings of American conservative ideology: everyone on the left is manipulative and hypocritical. These talking points serve to undermine our character at large and en masse. A conservative flying a Trump flag wouldn't be seen as virtue signaling from within this framework, because they believe they are acting in a genuine and earnest way. The root of virtue signaling is a dissonance between one’s actual feelings and one’s publicly expressed feelings, so signaling one’s virtue isn’t “virtue signaling” in the sense of the talking point if it is a product of real feelings. Conservatives largely believe this to be true for themselves and this is why they tend to like “people who tell it like it is” even when those people are complete assholes because they're not hedging how they feel in manipulative or dishonest ways.

        Under their framework, however, liberals are fundamentally dishonest, so nearly everything we do fits the talking point. None of us are acting in accordance with what we genuinely feel because we're coerced into it, we’re trying to gain social capital, or we’re trying to position ourselves as "holier than thou" as a means of gaining leverage. We’re dishonest and manipulative, so when we support, say, trans rights, they don’t see that as happening because we genuinely care about trans people but because there is some other angle, some ulterior motive underneath the surface. Our values don't come from an honest place -- we're just virtue signaling.

        Even in instances where they do permit us our feelings, they'll set us up for hypocrisy instead. "Cancel culture" is the perfect talking point for driving this, because we're supposed to be the ones promoting tolerance, so any act of intolerance on our behalf can be spun up as us failing our own standards. Conservative ideology often explicitly values intolerance, meanwhile, so there is no perceived hypocrisy when they act in the exact same and even far worse ways. And, like before, because we’re seen as fundamentally untrustworthy, even the most tame, insignificant acts can be ascribed sinister undertones or intentions, which is how polite smalltalk like “Happy Holidays” can become a “War on Christmas”. Even when we’re not cancelling something we’re cancelling something.

        Pushing this framework has been the MO of conservative media for decades at this point. The really significant point of it, and possibly it’s greatest “success” is that it has made the entire left appear to be morally bankrupt, explicitly manipulative, and fundamentally dishonest. The heuristic for judging someone no longer has to be a complex navigation of the person’s character, integrity, and actions. Instead, we can shortcut that to: if they’re on the left, or if we even suspect they might be, then we already know everything we need to about who they are. This is such a powerful story and we, consequently, are such a powerful enemy, that being on the right means you’re “right”, no matter how you act or what you do, which explains how many Christians can support candidates who act in explicitly immoral ways according to their own beliefs.


        There's a story I can tell from my own life that captures the social effects of this. It comes from my sister's wedding. At the time she got married, I was living in a city that has a reputation for leaning liberal (and not even one of the "main" ones, like San Francisco or Berkeley). I flew back to my home in the American south to attend her wedding.

        At the rehearsal dinner, I found my name among the table tents and took my seat. Later, an old woman sat down across from me. I politely introduced myself to her as "a brother of the bride" and mentioned that I had just flown in from the city that I was living in.

        “Southern hospitality" is a real thing, and I was raised to lead with politeness, especially with people you don't know. It is a grave breach of decorum to be unkind to strangers. The woman across from me did exactly this, which made her choice of action all the more uncomfortable. The first words out of her mouth, after I mentioned where I lived, were a dismissive "oh brother". I don’t remember if she actually rolled her eyes, but her voice had such prominent disdain for me that she didn’t really need to. She didn't follow up with an introduction herself, and just sort of turned away from me, pretending like I wasn't there.

        We didn't speak for the rest of the evening. I later found out she was my soon-to-be brother-in-law's grandmother.

        This was long before Trump took office, but that whole family (with the exception of my brother-in-law, for which I am very grateful) is now die-hard Trumpers. The reason we even have a phenomenon such as die-hard Trumpers in the first place is because we've had decades of this anti-left narrative dug deep into us, constantly supported and reinforced my large media organizations. This is the narrative that made it so that my brother-in-law's grandmother couldn't even sit politely with me at a table after learning only a single data point that cast me as potentially left-leaning.

        And she did this at the rehearsal dinner for my own sister's wedding — the wedding of her own grandson.

        That's how deep this goes. It’s fucking infuriating.


        If you go on pretty much any major post on r/politics right now, the comments there will be a litany of anti-right voices. The left has finally caught up to the right’s strategy, and much of reddit is now a place that is openly hostile to not just specific right-aligned individuals like Trump but the idea of right-aligned individuals in general.

        This is the inverse of conservative media’s narrative. I think many people on the left including many of us here on Tildes would probably have a hard time imagining the platonic ideal of a conservative and not seeing that invented individual as morally bankrupt, explicitly manipulative, or fundamentally dishonest. If they are somehow none of these things, then we assume, patronizingly, that they are at the very least dupes and suckers being conned by conservative media, like I’ve spent this entire post characterizing them as. I will raise my hand and be the first to admit that this inability to mentally construct an individual rather than just a negative judgment is true for me, despite the fact that many people in my life are conservatives who do have what I would consider to be good character and personal integrity.

        I’m not saying this to draw a false equivalency or spout some “both sides” bullshit. I believe that the partisan gap has grown as large as it is because the right keeps willfully widening it while blaming us for that outcome in the same breath. What I’m hoping the left can understand is that the way we have only recently started to feel about the right is the way the right has felt about us for a long, long time. If you have a hard time imagining a “good conservative”, it’s largely because for the longest time they have refused to see any such thing as a “good liberal”. Their narrative has disallowed any counterbalance and has given credence to their worst actors. Their narrative is an explicitly dehumanizing one, and the tell for when that kind of thing is taking hold is when your imagination cannot even muster up basic human qualities of value when you think about a group of people — or when you meet one of them in person at your grandson’s wedding.

        As fiery as this sounds, and as much as it can feel good to lean into blaming others, I’m saying this because I’m genuinely, honestly worried. Trumpism and the COVID crisis opened my eyes to just how far apart the two sides of our country stand. I used to think that bridge-building was the solution — we needed to connect across our differences and win people over to our policies, which I believe are genuinely better for everyone, not just those on our side. Bridges cannot cover expanses so large that you need binoculars to see across, however, and that’s the size of our divide at this point. A non-negligible part of this country still refuses to see the pandemic for what it is despite us coming up on the two year mark soon and having data and anecdotes from literally every single corner of the globe to back up its veracity. A non-negligible part of this country still responds in anger to simple things like mask-wearing, even when it is in their obvious best interest to do so — even when it could save their own lives or the lives of their loved ones.

        COVID showed me that much of this country meets our metaphorical messaging of “I want you to be safe from this deadly disease” from kind strangers with, at best, an “oh brother” said in dripping disdain and a possible eye-roll.

        At worst, well… let’s just say we seem to continually find new bottoms to the barrel, each further down than the last.

        There’s a part of me that looks through my binoculars at how far gone they are and wants to make sure I and the people standing by my side learn from their mistakes. I don’t want the left to become insular, shut ourselves off from counterbalances, and give credence to our worst actors. I want the people who somehow do find their way across that gap to our side to be welcomed and understood rather than shunned. I want to have a side that people want to come to in the first place. And I really don’t want us to lose sight of the humanity of the people we see through our binoculars, even if so many of them openly rejoice at not seeing it in us.

        This sounds all lofty and noble and selfless — so at odds with the kneejerk “fuck you” response I should be having that it feels like the exact kind of thing the “virtue signaling” talking point was made for.

        But it’s an honest, true feeling. I’m fucking sick of hyper-partisan shit, and being hyper-partisan in response to that only exacerbates the problem. Leaning into our better nature is a damned if we do situation because appealing to the humanity of someone who refuses to see your humanity in the first place is a terribly ineffective strategy. Unfortunately, I feel like we’re more damned if we don’t.

        If I’m being really honest, I feel like part of my wanting to humanize the “other side” isn’t a product of lofty morals but a straight-up selfish action. The only solution I see to our divide is an awakening of the consciences of people who, I feel, have been encouraged to ignore them for so long they’ve forgotten they’re there.

        The reason this is selfish is that, if I refuse to believe in their humanity, then that takes away the single plausible exit strategy I can see regarding the divided mess we’re living in. If I lose sight of their humanity, then I lose sight of my own hope for exiting this hellscape of “sides” that’s stealing the oxygen from everything. Every fucking thing.

        I want to selfishly cling to that hope as much as I possibly can.

        Without that hope, I’m — we’re — truly fucked.

        21 votes
      2. fredo
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Conservatives use terms like these in an indiscriminate manner with the purpose of controlling discourse. That doesn't mean "virtue signaling" and "cancel culture" are not real things, it just...

        Conservatives use terms like these in an indiscriminate manner with the purpose of controlling discourse. That doesn't mean "virtue signaling" and "cancel culture" are not real things, it just means that they are much rarer occurrences than conservatives make it seem, and that, even when they occur, they are often not relevant to the case in point. But "virtue signaling" and "cancel culture" do exist and are a pain the ass sometimes, even for progressives like myself.

        7 votes
  2. EgoEimi
    (edited )
    Link
    I think this is a good, interesting point. In the US, our broad racial-ethnic categories—White/Caucasian, Black/African, Asian, Latino—hide interesting data and construct affinities between...

    Firstly, it seems pretty clear polling Hispanic/Latino people as one unified populace isn't working well, given how Cuban Americans have a large presence in the Republican party instead of the Democratic one and that ignoring the race of the people polled is likely very unhelpful and means statements made about Hispanic people probably don't apply to all or maybe most of them.

    I think this is a good, interesting point. In the US, our broad racial-ethnic categories—White/Caucasian, Black/African, Asian, Latino—hide interesting data and construct affinities between different cultures and societies there are few or none.

    Recently an acquaintance (POC, non-Asian) remarked that Asian Americans—I'm Taiwanese-American—should put aside its differences and band together.

    On the one hand, there's the argument that non-Asian Americans can't tell the difference between us so why not.

    On the other hand, I think it's a ridiculous kumbaya everyone-hold-hands scenario that ignores that there are massive cultural differences because, well, we are different cultures. Very different cultures. As a Taiwanese American, I have nothing in common with Filipino or Hmong Americans beyond what we already have in common as unprefixed Americans.

    The broad survey/poll statements I see about Asian Americans almost always fail to capture significant and interesting undercurrents and social mechanisms in the Asian-American... "community" (not a community).

    From my Latino friends I hear similar concerns. They're not a monolithic group. A significant number, especially the ones who left countries like Cuba and Venezuela—including a few of my Venezuelan friends—favor neoliberal economic policies and oppose policies that smell redistributionist.

    7 votes
  3. knocklessmonster
    Link
    Demography in general, if the notion about the politics of Latin people in the US is limited to Cubans being Republicans, even in international headlines. Vietnamese (1st and 2nd wave immigrants...

    Demography in general, if the notion about the politics of Latin people in the US is limited to Cubans being Republicans, even in international headlines. Vietnamese (1st and 2nd wave immigrants at least) and Latin Americans (Mexicans, Guatemalans, Venezuelans, Salvadorians, the Central Americans who comprise the majority of Latin-American immigrants to the US) all tend towards conservative for various cultural and political regions: Fleeing communist regimes (some of which were installed by the US), religion, etc. This notion of regional and political monoliths leads to ineffective stereotyping.

    The reason I think this is important is that if a movement (party, corporation, grassroots organization) wants to make a change, they need to understand the people who carry that change. They need to know not only what they think, but as much of the "why" as they can get. In a country with an increasing Latin population (California was recently determined to be 60% Hispanic, for example), then every system that interacts with the population needs to understand how that population behaves, and why.

    4 votes
  4. [2]
    suspended
    Link
    I don't believe that surveying specific groups of people about their political stances would be beneficial to anyone. Unless, it is trying to understand where/how they receive their information....

    I don't believe that surveying specific groups of people about their political stances would be beneficial to anyone. Unless, it is trying to understand where/how they receive their information. Misinformation is rampant in the western world.

    ...I think it isn't the only place that it could be useful.

    It is incredibly useful to people such as sociologists for example. I know because I used to survey/poll people when studying sociology at university.

    3 votes
    1. EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      Interestingly, I think that misinformation in minority communities is an overlooked issue. I tap into POC and queer POC, ahem, "Instagram social justice meme" information networks (I'm socially...

      Unless, it is trying to understand where/how they receive their information. Misinformation is rampant in the western world.

      Interestingly, I think that misinformation in minority communities is an overlooked issue. I tap into POC and queer POC, ahem, "Instagram social justice meme" information networks (I'm socially adjacent to those networks as a gay POC (Asian)) and I see all kinds of misinformation.

      I think there's been an operating assumption that misinformation and information bubbles only really meaningfully affects white conservatives. But it affects every group just as much, for better or worse.

      I'd like to see more detailed data around misinformation in specific groups beyond white conservatives.

      6 votes
  5. EgoEimi
    (edited )
    Link
    I just thought of two important ones that should've been tracked: Inter-minority discrimination Intra-minority discrimination I think these two aspects can more richly capture how we (the USA) are...

    I just thought of two important ones that should've been tracked:

    1. Inter-minority discrimination
    2. Intra-minority discrimination

    I think these two aspects can more richly capture how we (the USA) are progressing on assimilation, integration, and building interracial social cohesion.

    On 1. I observe there's been a long assumption that discrimination is something that non-white Americans experience from white Americans. But many immigrants settle in urban areas (look at cities in California and Texas) that are largely nonwhite; they experience inter-minority tension.

    On 2. minorities are not monoliths. There are different cultures, generations, classes... even castes. There's a lot of not very visible conflict within a minority.

    For example, Indian immigration historically drew virtually entirely from high castes when India was very poor and only high caste Indians could get the education and/or resources to move to the US. Modern India, while still poor, now has a significant and diverse middle class, and so too has Indian immigration to the US diversified. The growing presence of low caste immigrants in the Indian-American sphere (I hesitate to use "community" because minority groups are really too big and fragmented to form true communities) has reportedly already resulted in workplace discrimination and tension and will likely generate future tension.

    Another example is how Sino Americans segregate themselves by socioeconomic class. I use Sino Americans to refer to the supergroup of Chinese, Hong Kong Chinese, Taiwanese, Singaporean Chinese, Vietnamese Chinese, Indonesian Chinese, etc.

    Historical and working-class immigrants migrate/d directly to ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatowns and so on. College-educated, professional immigrants migrate/d directly to suburbs. My (Taiwanese-American) family moved to the suburbs of Chicago, drawn by the corporate research labs and large community of well-educated Chinese and Taiwanese there. But my parents never socially mingled with Chinese Americans in Chinatown.

    I'm not confident but I sense that in Sino-ethnic spheres at least (I'm Taiwanese American), professional-class Sino Americans place a lot more social distance between their working-class and themselves counterparts than other Americans would.

    I believe this is a double-edged consequence of our cultural values around education: we look up to educated people... but this cuts in the opposite direction too.

    3 votes
  6. fandegw
    Link
    You have to remember the act of polling isn't as neutral as one might think, especially for political polls. Bourdieu has published one article on all the effect polls have, and its an excellent...

    You have to remember the act of polling isn't as neutral as one might think, especially for political polls.
    Bourdieu has published one article on all the effect polls have, and its an excellent read to reason around polls:
    Translated in english I only found this pdf: http://moscowamerican.com/images/2/2b/Kupdf.net_public-opinion-does-not-exist_pierre-bourdieu-1972.pdf
    In french: http://www.homme-moderne.org/societe/socio/bourdieu/questions/opinionpub.html

    2 votes
  7. skybrian
    Link
    A technical challenge is that survey firms would need to call a lot more people to get more information about narrow demographic groups. For any given minority group, most people called aren’t in...

    A technical challenge is that survey firms would need to call a lot more people to get more information about narrow demographic groups. For any given minority group, most people called aren’t in that group.

    They could target the places where certain groups live, but then it wouldn’t be random.

    1 vote
  8. fredo
    (edited )
    Link
    I'd like to see a survey which surveyed the actual impact of surveys relative to their cost. I have a suspicion that we're not in an information deficit for the most part.

    I'd like to see a survey which surveyed the actual impact of surveys relative to their cost. I have a suspicion that we're not in an information deficit for the most part.

    1 vote