Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Question of Trust -- Religion and Nationality

Everyone must know by now about presidential candidate Dr. Carson's remarks regarding a Muslim potentially becoming President of the U.S. and some depressing data from recent polls about percentages of Iowa Republicans who must have a very low opinion of Islam, to say the least.

As it happens, I've been looking deeper at the World Values Survey, and, in particular, at relationships between questionnaire responses that are strong whether or not we control for country specific effects. One of the most resilient relationships, I have found, is that between questions V106 (degree of trust in people of other religions) and V107 (degree of trust in people of other nationalities). For the entire sample, the relationship is shown below:


1 = Trust Completely
2 = Trust Somewhat
3 = Do not trust very much

4 = Do not trust at all

Here is the relationship graphically:

Fortunately, the largest groups are those who are reservedly non-trusting (3 for both variables) followed by those who are reservedly trusting (2 for both variables), but there is a large mass (the third largest) of those who do not trust at all people of other religions or other nations.

For the U.S., the data is even better:

A clear majority, 56% of the respondents were cautiously trusting (2 for both variables), with an additional 5% fully trusting (1 for both variables). Yes, 16% are moderately mistrusting, and 4% are fully mistrusting, but these percentages are still much lower than for the world as a whole. Here it is graphically:

The relationship between approaches to religion and nationality are undeniable, here in the U.S. or in the world as a whole. Recent bad news notwithstanding, America still seems more (cautiously) trusting than most!


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