Regional differences in opinion, attitude and values

Update: Follow up post.

This Michael Lind piece bemoaning liberal contempt for white Southerners made me want to look a bit deeper and compare interregional differences and similarities. I went into the General Social Survey and limited responses to whites only and compared by region. The regions in the GSS are those of the US Census:

i-299b49db839a9b2e12fd61c4233291dd-census_regions.png

I combined New England & Mid Atlantic as the Northeast, the North Central regions as the Midwest, Mountain and Pacific as the West, and finally the other three regions as the South. Results below....


Northeast Midwest South West
God



Don't Believe 4.1 3.2 1.5 3.4
No Way To Find Out 6.7 5.5 3.8 6
Some Higher Power 10.8 11.8 6.3 14.6
Believe Sometimes 6.3 4.5 2.9 4.5
Believe But Doubts 22.8 18.9 14.3 18.3
Know God Exists 49.3 56 71.1 53.2





Party



Democrat 42.2 37.3 34.6 41.9
Independent 21.2 19.4 18.1 16.6
Republican 35.6 43.2 47.3 41.5





Ideology



Liberal 29.3 24.6 19.2 28.5
Moderate 41.7 39.7 35.7 35.6
Conservative 28.9 35.7 45 36





Religion



Protestant 29.2 52.7 66.9 44.9
Catholic 45.4 26.9 17.3 21.3
Jewish 4.9 1.5 1.9 1.9
No Religion 15.6 15.7 10.5 23





Education



Less Than HS 11.7 12.3 13.6 9.4
HS 49 56.9 53.2 51.2
Junior College 7.8 7.5 7.8 8.9
Bachelor 19.4 15.3 17.3 21.1
Graduate 12.2 8 8.1 9.4





Intelligence



Dumb (WORDSUM 0-4) 15.3 15.7 17.4 11.4
Average (WORDSUM 5-7) 55 61.5 57.2 55.6
Smart (WORDSUM 8-10) 29.7 22.7 25.3 33





Allow To Speak....



Atheist 79.7 81.4 74.4 85.5
Racist 62.3 66.6 63.2 66.7
Communist 72.1 73 65.2 78.4
Militarist 70.2 71.2 65.2 76.2
Homosexual 89.4 86 78.8 88.9





Protestants



Fundamentalists 27 46.6 59.9 41.7
Moderate 28.4 28.8 15.5 33.6
Liberal 44.7 24.5 24.6 24.6





Bible Is....



Word of God 19.4 27.1 38.1 24.1
Inspired Word 56.1 55.6 48.9 49.1
Book of Fables 22.7 15.9 11.8 24.4





Can People Be Trusted...



Can Trust 40.4 39.6 34.9 43.1
Cannot Trust 51.9 56.3 59.9 51.2
Depends 7.6 4.1 5.2 5.7





Great Deal of Confidence In....



Scientific Community 46.4 44 42 49.3
Military 44.1 48.8 54.1 43.1
Organized Labor 13.7 12.6 11.3 12.7
Organized Religion 23.5 26.5 26.5 19.9
Banks 24.8 27.3 29.6 25.2





How Do People Get Ahead



Hard Work 62.5 68.4 68.7 69.5
Both Equally 26.1 20.5 22.3 21
Luck or Help 11.5 11.1 9 9.5





Taxes On Rich Are....



Much Too High 12.1 8 7.5 8.5
Too High 16.7 12.4 19 14.2
About Right 21.3 25.9 28.2 27.3
Too Low 29 40 32.2 28.5
Much Too Low 21 13.7 13.1 11.5





Approve Ban Mandatory School Prayer 50.7 43 34.7 51.6
Premarital Sex Always Wrong 14.3 22.7 33.7 22.4
Homosexual Sex Always Wrong 40.5 54.8 65.5 47.6
Make Porn Illegal 32.6 36.7 44.6 32
Strongly Favor Spanking of Children 17.4 24.6 32.1 23.6
Does a Person Have Right to End Life if Terminally Ill? 70.5 64.8 57 69
Reads Newspaper Everyday 46.3 42.5 37.1 37.4
Poor Americans Need to Help Themselves, No Gov. Aid 25.8 29.9 33.8 30.4
People Should Pay For Medical Care Themselves, No Gov. Aid 14.3 18.8 20.5 17.5
No Special Treatment for Blacks, No Gov. Aid 53.1 56.2 61.4 55.2
No One In Family Belongs To Union 75.8 81.8 90.7 83.6
Favor Law Against Interracial Marriage 8.9 10.3 18 5.5
Yes – Abortion On Demand 49.2 36.7 33.9 49.4
Renter 24.8 24.6 21.8 31.3
Favor Capital Punishment 68.4 74.6 78.7 75.5
Favor Gun Permit 88.4 78.2 77.2 76.1
Legalize Marijuana 37.8 35.5 30.5 41.4
Attended Religious Service Last Week 29.7 31.2 37.7 26.9

The correlations between the regions are:

Northeast & Midwest, 0.95
Northeast & South, 0.87
Northeast & West, 0.96
Midwest & South, 0.96
Midwest & West, 0.98
South & West, 0.93

There's really a lot of agreement.

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I have to disagree with your grouping of regions. If your reported result is a high correlation between the perceived 'different' geographic regions, throwing obviously very different regions (which are traditionally separated) together will obviously skew the results towards the conclusion.

I'd be very interested to see the correlations run with the full set of 9 regions.

It would also be cool to see the correlations for a trimmed down list of measures. A lot of the items (especially the binary questions at the end) are redundant (obviously not independent).

In essence the northeast and west agree most of the time.

What I see is the south being the main problem and curiously that's where the rabid republican base exists.

Can we do a recount on the Civil War - and FORCE the crackers in the South to succeed now?

Excellent post, Razib. As is common for your posts, a generous endowment of curiousity and a consistent scientific approach to data analysis has enlightened us all (well, most of us!).

Notwithstanding the aforementioned enlightenment, I am starting a wagering pool for the emergence of the first blogger or commenter who writes "...but those [enter a geographic area] are really [enter a derogatory statement].

J-Dog, William Lloyd Garrison actually wanted the north to secede. I believe Aaron Burr was involved in a plot to have the north secede. I am a northerner and I endorse the idea, but I'm for secession anytime anywhere for any reason.

Of course, while there are a lot of similarities, there's one or two points with differences in the neighborhood of 20%.

I also strongly suspect the correlations would be much worse in narrower comparisons, especially deep blue New England region one with deep red Deep South region six.