The results overall refute the hypothesis of growing cultural divides. With few exceptions, the extent of cultural distance has been broadly constant over time.
The data also show that:
1. From to 1995, the time use behavior of women and men converged a good deal, but not since then.
2. Differences in social attitudes by political ideology and income have increased since the 1970s. The rich and the poor have diverged the most in terms of their attitudes toward law enforcement.
3. Whites and non-whites “have converged somewhat on social attitudes but have diverged in consumer behavior.”
4. “Nevertheless, our headline result is that for all other demographic divisions and cultural dimensions, cultural distance has been broadly constant over time.” For instance, the media consumption gap between rich and poor has not been growing.
5. “The brand most predictive of top income in 1992 is Grey Poupon Dijon mustard. By 2004, the brand most indicative of the rich is Land O’Lakes butter, followed by Kikkoman soy sauce. By the end of the sample, ownership of Apple products (iPhone and iPad) tops the list. Knowing whether someone owns an iPad in 2016 allows us to guess correctly whether the person is in the top or bottom income quartile 69 percent of the time. Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016.”
6. Voting and “trusting people” are among the “social attitudes” that best predict being rich.
7. Education is matched about as tightly to social attitudes now as it was in 1976.
8. “By 2016, watching Love It or List It and Property Brothers, both HGTV shows, were the most indicative of being educated.” [TC: yikes!]
9. Since the 1990s, there has been no divergence in the TV shows watched by liberals and conservatives. Note that in 2001, the three TV shows that best predicted ideology were The Academy Awards, Will and Grace, and Friends, all liberal. Nowadays it’s Fox shows, all conservative.
10. Liberals are more likely to drink alcohol, conservatives are more likely to go fishing.
11. Maybe this is the most important result: since 1976 there has not been much divergence between liberal and conservative attitudes toward civil liberties or law enforcement. The divergence on government spending is noticeable but not enormous (see p.39). the divergence on “Marriage, Sex, Abortion” is quite large. In another words, the true polarization is happening across gender issues, as I’ve argued numerous times in the past.
12. Here are related important results on the cultural divide. When will MSM articles catch up to the data?