Political Polarization: Walkable Communities versus More Room?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Political Polarization
PEW 2014 research on the kinds of communities Americans prefer

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What kind of community would you prefer to live in? Here are two choices. Which is the kind of place where you would like to live?

MORE ROOM “The houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away.”

WALKABLE COMMUNITIES “The houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are within walking distance.”

Pew surveyors posed this choice in their new study of ideological polarization. They found that different Americans have different preferences—and that these preferences vary by political ideology.

Americans who are “consistently conservative” overwhelmingly prefer houses that are larger and farther apart, with amenities several miles away. In fact, 75% of the consistently conservative prefer this living arrangement.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Americans who are “consistently liberal” strongly prefer walkable communities—77% make this choice.

In between these two extremes, preferences are correlated with political ideology. Americans who say their political views are mixed are split between the two living arrangements. As you get more liberal, your choices lean towards walkable communities. As you get more conservative, your choices tend toward more room.

Do you prefer a walkable community?

Or, is more room at the top of your first choice?

What’s the explanation of the correlation of political ideology and community preferences?

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