Friday, August 25, 2006

Emails with Arthur, Round Two

After yesterday's email exchange with Arthur Brooks, I thought I'd try again to see how he came up with the dramatic shift in ideological identification he did within such a short time frame. My response to his last email:

Mr. Brooks, thanks for your reply.

I guess without seeing the sims I can't figure out exactly how you came up with those numbers. It seems rather extreme for a shift of this magnitude to happen in 8 years due to differential reproduction alone.

I agree that immigration changes things considerably; in fact it almost certainly swamps out trends in native fertility. However, I wouldn't call immigration "intangible" since it can be measured just like anything else, and should certainly be included in any study of voting trends based on demographics.
Any further thoughts would be appreciated,

As you can see, I didn't press him too hard on the "sims" issue, but I was hoping he'd give me something to work with anyway since this is what I asked him about to begin with. Well, he didn't:

Agreed on the immigration issue--it may have a large effect. But this depends on a bunch of steps: legalization, naturalization rates, registration, and then actual voting. At present, latinos vote way below their numbers. This is a challenge for both sides, and maybe the big battleground in the next 20 years. Got yelled at on talk radio yesterday for asserting this.

I found a odd disconnect between the way he handles immigrants and they way he handles natives. With Latinos, things like voter registration and the number of people who show up to the polls are confounding factors. But with young white people, apparently this isn't an issue at all. Latinos, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic (by a split of about 65/35), may be a big battleground over the next 20 years. White people, on the other hand, can be safely assumed to vote the way their parents and grandparents did ad infinitum.

I think I'm starting to see how Brooks comes up with the answers he wants.