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If being legally married is a rough-and-ready indicator of a person's susceptibility to conservative values, then anyone trying to reach a conservative-values target-audience should be aiming very slightly more towards men than women, at middle-aged Canadians, and, among younger Canadians, at Chinese, South Asian, West Asian, Arab, Korean and (male) Filipino voters.

Maybe, but the NDP also targets those groups too. ;)

The NDP does have daycare services available at Conventions, people bring their infants onto the Convention Floor and we have cute little "Little Dipper" T-shirts for sale.

One should never import American religious comparisons to Canada; one thing the two countries differ greatly on is religion and the pattern of religious/political/cultural history. The Canadian church scene is far more British than it is American and in fact the closest comparator is Australia.

The other thing is that the NDP is the second choice party among Canadian evangelicals (my church gets an evangelical magazine whose title escapes me). Evangelicals are as likely to be economically left-leaning as they are to be right-leaning. The Christian Left has a long and vibrant history in Canada and Canadian evangelicalism has never separated itself from that tradition. Why should it, it founded that tradition!

Are people in traditional household arrangement "susceptible to" conservative values in an ideological sense, or is it because their daily lives hinge more on a relatively narrow set of concerns focused on traditional institutions--family, child-rearing, etc? I'm not saying those are inherently conservative activities, but a higher reliance on a small set of institutions may make you less likely to care about sweeping reform or the concerns of relatively remote minority groups. (Consider the very low public support for Idle No More, e.g.) When I look at people who've been single their whole lives, I like to think they get their first (partial) taste of married life when their aging parents start needing a lot of help.

I'm always skeptical of claims that "Canadians are fundamentally left-/right-wing" because most people's pre-electoral concerns are usually a grab-bag of ideologically mixed items and tired tropes--healthcare, roads, taxes, etc. To the extent that domestic (married parental) life narrows the scope of your relevant institutions, you could call it conservative if you by that you meant incrementalist improvement of mainstream institutions.

Shangwen - Lena Edlund has an interesting article http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/content/117/3/917.short - it's probably ungated on her web page. Anyways her argument there is that the decline in marriage has made women more left-wing, that is, more interested in having a state that providse social security. The family and the government are both institutions that provide social insurance. If one has more social insurance through one's family networks, one needs less social insurance through public institutions.

Take a look at Lena's argument (she's actually a fascinating and very creative person) and see what you think.

Thanks Frances, I couldn't access the article but am familiar with that line of reasoning. It certainly matches the ideological breakdown I see in my own life (which obviously is the great test of empirical generalization...). Not surprisingly, I often hear married and more conservative women rationalize their preferences, as do single and more left-wing women: either familial security is better because intimate, private, etc, or state benefits are superior because more rational, just, etc. Take what you can get, I suppose.

I've also seen arguments that urbanization increases a preference for left-wing policies, which is intriguing given that many immigrant groups (or at least the ones that don't arrive poor and establish dysfunctional communities in Canada) tend to prefer both conservative values (including marriage) and urban life.

This is one of those areas where people who are really attached to politics and ideology tend to be clueless about the 90% of people who don't care about politics. When people on the left hear that the CPC is wooing immigrants because they align with conservative values, they conjure up their stereotypes--uneducated, religious, mean, xenophobic--and dismiss the other side's probability of success. But since most people don't give a rat's a$$ about politics, there isn't a lot of wooing needed for people who don't have a strong party affiliation. (On the other hand, the GOP apparently had an epic fail assuming that catholic Hispanics would swing their way because of abortion.)

In the context of your post, I wonder if "intimate institutionalism" is more apt than "conservative".

perhaps they have become DIVORCED from reality!

Shangwen - here's an ungated version: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/rpande/papers/qje_all.pdf

nottrampis - Groan.

Frances and Shangwen: I need to go back and read (rather than skim) Edlund's article, but Shangwen's comments started me wondering....just because one is caught up in the day-to-day routines of parenting doesn't necessarily lessen the dependence on social institutions (not quite what you were saying, I know). In a society where jobs frequently dictate location (is that changing much?), the familial networks get frayed. I am very conscious of the fact that my ageing mother is on the other side of the country, so I can't help her much. Moreover, since I have only one child, I am equally conscious that when I age I cannot look to her for all of my support, so I need to do my bit to keep the welfare systems in place. Looking around I see lots of people with little familial support, even if they are in traditional relationships. Clearly I need to think more about this before it becomes completely coherent, but my break from marking is over.

Linda - humm.... I wonder if smaller family sizes might have a similar effect to lone parenthood? It would be hard to test empirically because strong welfare states tend to promote fertility e.g. Scandinavia. Distance from family? Again, empirically hard to test, because more professional people tend to be more mobile....

linda; why is why that very often , those who favor /business" are against social programs that facilitate mobility.
On the other hand, it was said in the '50's that IBM meant "I've been moved.". It was suspected that large corporations would do like the army: prevent any social ties outside the company so you would rely on them.
In the early '80's I saw a documentaery on CBS where a sociologist argued that the hippie commune of the 60's-'70's, usually populated by offspring of the upper-middle class, were trying to find the extended family that their parents were unable to provide due to their frequent reassignments.

"If being legally married is a rough-and-ready indicator of a person's susceptibility to conservative values"

Huh? Where did that leap come from. I feel like being married is probably a decent indicator of someone's willingness to take a chance on a lifelong commitment. Conservative values? Not even close.

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