I was probably semi-aware of it before, but I recently had my attention directed to the difference between a percentage difference and a percentage-point difference.

Of course, now I’m noticing it being misused all the time.

(The difference is this: Suppose 5% of women watch a certain TV show and 10% of men watch it. That means men are 100% more likely to watch the show. But there is only a 5 percentage-point difference in their viewing habits. This is why financial things are often quoted in basis points, which are one-hundredths of one percentage point.)

Compared to the average American:

– Fifteen percent less likely to say they have a “strong sense of home” – 36% V. 21%
– Six percent more likely to say they feel like a “stranger in my own country” – 19% V. 13%
– Twelve percent more likely to say the world is becoming a “more dangerous place” – 50% V. 38%
– Twice as likely to say “things have gotten worse for me personally in the last year” – 32% V. 17%
– Much less likely to be registered to vote – 51% V. 72%
– Much more likely to be African American – 20% V. 12%
– Seven percent more likely to be aged 18-29 – 28% V. 21%
– Eight percent more likely to have not graduated from college – 68% V. 60%
– Four percent more likely to “avoid arguments” – 86% V. 82%

Case in point

I took the quiz, and I’m “politically disengaged”:

The Politically Disengaged group most resembles Passive Liberals in having lower levels of income and education and being less engaged in following current affairs. Fully 41 percent are making less than $30,000 per year, and approximately one in four have gone without food or medical treatment at least somewhat often in the past year. They diverge from Passive Liberals in being more anxious about external threats and less open in their attitudes towards differences. For instance, they are the most likely to say that being white is necessary to be American and that people who hold other religious views are morally inferior. They are more concerned about the threat of terrorism and are quite closed to the view that Islamic and American values are compatible. They are practically invisible in local politics and community life, being one of the least likely groups to participate in political rallies or vote in local elections. They are the least well-informed group on all measures of political knowledge. They are also the most pessimistic about the possibility of reconciling differences between the factions. Overall, this makes the Politically Disengaged a challenging segment to persuade.

I thought that my answers to the values and policy questions would make me a “progressive activist.” Apparently not! 

I’m a “Traditional Liberal”! Who knew?

Traditional Liberals reflect the liberal ideals of the Baby Boomer generation. They maintain idealistic attitudes about the potential for social justice in America, yet they are less ideological than Progressive Activists. They also are not as intolerant of conservatives. They have strong humanitarian values, and around half say that religion is important to them. Traditional Liberals are significantly more likely to say that people “need to be willing to listen to others and compromise.” They are the most likely group, along with Progressive Activists, to handle conflict by “getting to the heart of the disagreement.” Overall, Traditional Liberals respond best to rational arguments and are inclined to place more faith in the viability of American institutions, even if they are disillusioned with the country’s current direction.

I found the quiz and study to be pretty bad in general. I feel like I got Traditional Liberal for not being an absolute racist or ignoramus. I was actually wondering where the hell it would put me as I read the paper.

Christ almighty I got “passive liberal,” I might as well jump into a river immediately.

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