Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rural residents more alienated, cynical when it comes to politics, elitism and news media

Response to assertion "You can't believe much
of what you hear from the mainstream media"
Rural residents feel more alienated than urban residents and are more cynical towards people who have more money and education than they do, says a study by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. The study, "The Vanishing Center of American Democracy," was based on 1,904 telephone interviews as part of the 2016 Survey of American Political Culture.

"Alienation rates are twice as likely to be very high in the most rural areas as in the denser cities; three-and-a-half times more likely if you have only a high school diploma than a graduate degree; and four times more likely if you are in the lowest income bracket than if you belong in the highest income bracket," the study reports. "As with distrust of political institutions and cynicism about America’s 'experts' and leaders, personal alienation is more closely tied to education and income than to other measures of social location."

"Similarly, the population density where one lives is only loosely connected to cynicism—those who live in rural areas tend to be slightly more cynical toward elites," the study found. "The key elements tied to cynicism are income and education, especially the latter."

Responses to "How much confidence
do you have in the people who run our
government to tell the truth to the public?"
Overall, 75 percent of respondents said they agree or mostly agree that you can't believe much of what you hear from the mainstream media. Also, 67 percent have no or little confidence that the people who run our government tell the truth to the public.

When asked if "Most politicians are more interested in winning elections than in doing what is right," 90 percent of respondents agreed. Also, 88 percent said political events are more like entertainment or theater than something that should be taken seriously, 86 percent said they vote without putting much thought into the issues and 84 percent believe Wall Street and big businesses profit at the expense of ordinary Americans.

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