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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sample spaces and overlapping populations  

Instapundit links to a Nielson press release that describes the party affiliations of the online population:
36.6 percent of U.S. adults online are Republicans, 30.8 percent are Democrats and 17.3 percent are Independents.
This seems about right to me. I spend a lot of time online, and get a large percentage of my news and sense of the world from it, and I have a sense that there is a legitimate (if slight) Republican majority in at least the part of the world that I inhabit. (Also that self-identified Independents, especially of the Libertarian persuasion, are over-represented here.)

My suspicion is that the same analysis of network news viewers would reverse the percentages. Combined, the somewhat overlapping groups may yield a 50/50 nation (which I think is an outdated snapshot of a moving trend, but what do I know?)

One question, of course, is how well either of these sample groups reflects the larger population. At least as well, I think, as the population of the polled - mostly those with landline phones, who answer questions - who are skewing increasingly Democratic this election cycle. There should be a reality check in a week or so.

Then again, those who actually vote in midterm elections are a pretty small sample of the whole, as well.

A larger question is that left/right, red/blue, however you want to identify the division, increasingly occupy different (and very separate) realities. One of the unacknowledged aspects of globalization is that it makes possible the existence of encapsulated communities within the larger, flatter structure.

Yugoslavia and Iraq show the difficulty of creating a multi-ethnic nation; what are the chances of surviving as a multi-reality nation?

posted by Kelly | 11:07 AM link