Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Missing variable found?

Why did Conservatives do better in rural and suburban ridings in the past federal election while the Liberal and NDP parties fared better in urban ridings, especially as population density increases in large cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal (see graphs at Political Staples)? Small Dead Animals has the simplest and most plausibly significant variable:

The inference that is most commonly drawn from correlations that show a rise in support for the liberal-left in high population density areas, is that somehow, when you have many people living together in close quarters, they become more tolerant and "progressive" in their societal views. […]

[But] there is another correlation that exists in communities of high population density - and that is the inverse ratio in home ownership. By and large, those who dwell in urban, high-rise zoning don't collect much more than furniture. Many aren't even responsible for basic chores involving maintainance and upkeep - they just call someone.

[…] When one moves into the suburbs and rural areas, however, the reverse is true - the average voter is more likely to own their own home and/or business. They gain first hand experience with the actual costs and consequences of intrusive "tax and spend" nannystate government policies so popular with the urban left. Home owners feel the direct impact in rising property taxes, and dimished private sector investment.
Renters, especially in inner cities, are traditional clients of the state for the provision of space outside their own apartments — and repay those parties that promise to continue or expand that provision with their votes. Bonus: SDA links to an old Thomas Sowell article as illustration.

1 Comment:

T. F. Stern said...

You have explained something which is clear to most who have thought about it and stated it well. Those who have to pay their own way generally are more conservative than those who don't.