Liberal Tightwads and Compassionate Conservatives

It truly is a Christmas miracle that the New York Times printed an article over the weekend called Bleeding Heart Tightwads. The columnist, Nicholas D. Kristof, admits what many of us have always instinctively known, that conservatives are more generous than liberals. He cites three studies in his column, all of which support the conclusion that liberals are far more stingy in their charitable giving than conservatives:

  • Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals.
  • A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.
  • The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states (Republican voting states) are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states (Democrat voting states) are least likely to do so.

Kristof further says, “when liberals see the data on giving, they tend to protest that conservatives look good only because they shower dollars on churches — that a fair amount of that money isn’t helping the poor, but simply constructing lavish spires…(but) according to Google’s figures, if donations to all religious organizations are excluded…(still) conservatives are more generous than liberals.”

Now after reading this, I wanted to dig into the numbers myself. Not that I don’t believe Kristof or his sources, I do, but like the name of my blog indicates, I like to analyze things. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find on the Internet any of the data he referenced in his column. Good data is so hard to come by 🙂 But I did find a report called Volunteering in America, which has state by state trends from 2002 to 2005. The volunteer rate cited in the report is the percentage of the population, 16 years of age or older, that participates in volunteering activities. As you can see in the chart below, 8 of the top 10 states are traditional Republican states, so the data seems to back up Kristof’s conclusions that conservatives are more generous in their giving.

2008 Election Results

I wanted to look at the results of our recent presidential election and compare it with other recent ones. Below is a complete chart with data from the past nine presidential elections (1976-2008, my lifetime). Obama’s election certainly was historic in many respects. Here are some statistical highlights:

  • Obama got more votes (popular votes) than any candidate in history.
  • McCain got over 3 million fewer votes than Bush got in 2004. (And it wasn’t as if those 3 million people voted for 3rd party candidates this time as you’ll see in the next point.)
  • 3rd party candidates got only 1.7 million votes, just over 1% of the voting electorate.
  • Total votes cast was over 128 million, up 6 million from 2004.
  • Obama was first Democrat to get more than 50% of the popular vote since Jimmy Carter in 1976, 32 years ago.
  • McCain got the lowest percentage of popular vote for Republicans since Dole in 1996 (of course Dole was also contending with Ross Perot who got 10% of the popular vote).
  • Over 5 million votes, 6.9% of the popular vote, separated Obama from McCain. This was the largest margin of victory for a candidate since Clinton in 1996.
  • Voter turnout, as a percentage of eligible voters, was slightly higher than 2004, and the best it has been in my lifetime, since 1976.

Sorry the chart is kind of small. Click on it to see a larger version.
What Does This Mean?
It means McCain lost the race as much as Obama won it. It means McCain did a lousy job of getting out the vote. McCain clearly didn’t excite the conservative base of the Republican party. You could have seen this coming by the fact that most conservative talk radio hosts (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, etc.) fought hard against McCain during the nomination process. Of course they supported McCain over Obama, as McCain was the lesser of two evils. But this never translated into the party rallying around its candidate. There was some excitement from the conservative base at the nomination of Sarah Palin as vice president, but this was short lived and didn’t give McCain enough momentum to overcome the left’s excitement around Barack Obama.

Four years from now, if the Republicans want to regain the White House, they better put forth a better candidate…a more conservative, younger (I wish age wasn’t a factor but I think it was) candidate who can excite the party base and the nation as a whole.

Sources: Popular vote totals from Wikipedia.
Eligible and Registered numbers from:

Columbia University: Applauds Terrorist Dictators, Appalled by Conservatives

Last Month, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran (an official state sponsor of terror according to the US government), visited and spoke at Columbia University in New York. Ahmadinejad was greeted with enthusiasm by many students there. “After sitting through Bollinger’s rebuke (the university president listed many of Iran’s human right atrocities), Ahmadinejad rose to applause, and after a religious invocation, opened his remarks by objecting to the scolding, saying it was insulting to be spoken about that way.” (FoxNews story) I was shocked that such a clearly evil man was given such a warm welcome at one of our nation’s universities.

Fast forward about a month and this past weekend students at Columbia University held a very vocal protest of “a speech by conservative author David Horowitz…The rally was held to show disapproval over Horowitz’s visit” (Students Hold Rally Against Pundit’s Speech). Horowitz had come to the university “to talk about extremist Islam.”

Now I had heard Horowitz’s name before, but I wasn’t exactly sure who he was. So I decided to do some research to see if I could figure out why he was welcomed by protesters while Ahmadinejad was welcomed by thunderous applause. In the chart below I have summarized information I found regarding Horowitz and contrasted that with information on Ahmadinejad.

David Horowitz Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
“an American conservative writer and activist.”
“He is the editor of the conservative website FrontPage Magazine”
“He founded the activist group Students for Academic Freedom”
“He occasionally appears on the Fox News Channel as an analyst.”
“an opponent of affirmative action policies, as well as reparations for slavery”
“strongly supportive of the war on terror and the war in Iraq”
“Horowitz has rejected what he sees as the intolerance of some Christian conservatives towards homosexuals. While Horowitz disagrees with gay marriage, he believes homosexuals have a fundamental right to privacy”
“did a study titled “Political Bias in the Administrations and Faculties of 32 Elite Colleges and Universities.” The overall ratio of Democrats to Republicans they were able to identify at the 32 schools was more than 10 to 1 (1,397 Democrats, 134 Republicans, 1891 unidentified).”
Source Wikipedia
“sixth and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“became president on 6 August 2005”
“an outspoken critic of the George W. Bush Administration”
“He was condemned, internationally, for calling for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map.'”
“He has said Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and has refused to end enrichment despite United Nations Security Council resolutions”
“He has also been condemned for describing the Holocaust as a myth to make ‘the innocent nation of Palestine pay'”
“the Canadian government listed Iran as one of the thirteen worst abusers of human rights in 2006”
“According to Amnesty International, dissidents who oppose the government non-violently face harassment, torture and execution”
on a good note, though, “On 24 April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that a ruling which prevented women from watching men playing sports in stadiums would soon be reversed”
Source Wikipedia

It’s too bad that the liberal professors and students at Columbia have more tolerance for a murderous dictator than a good, honest man of a different political viewpoint.

In all fairness, there were reports that “the speech generated predominately positive responses from the audience.” And “while the rally included some graduate and undergraduate students, the crowd consisted largely of local residents and activists from the off-campus liberal nonprofit organization The World Can’t Wait! Drive Out The Bush Regime.”