Friday, February 10, 2012

How to annoy liberals, moderates, and conservatives

For a change, I decided to post information that's not just of academic interest, but can be put to practical use in daily life.  A November 2010 survey by CBS News included an unusual question:  "Which one of the following behaviors do you find the most annoying? 1. People getting onto an elevator before people get off,  2. Spitting in public, 3. Cell phone conversations in restaurants, 4. Driving slow in the fast lane, or 5. The use of the acronym LOL?"  Like most surveys today, it also asked people whether they would describe their political views as liberal, moderate, or conservative.

            Elevator  Spitting  Cell  Driving   LOL   DK/NA
Liberal      10%       29%      22%    27%      5%    7%
Moderate      7%       23%      25%    38%      2%    5%
Conservative  9%       24%      25%    34%      6%    2%
DK/NA         8%       22%      39%    12%     11%    8%

So if you want to annoy a liberal, the best way is to spit in public; if you want to annoy a conservative or moderate, drive slowly in the left lane.  There weren't that many people who didn't choose a political philosophy, but they had a distinctive pattern:  they weren't concerned about driving slowly, but disliked people talking on cell phones in restaurants.  The differences were statistically significant, and remained so after controlling for age and gender (as you might expect, younger people and men were more annoyed by slow drivers, while older people and women were more annoyed by spitting in public). 

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