‘Moderate’ left and right

Fred Argy wants me to look at ‘moderate’ lefties and ‘moderate’ right-wingers instead of just the psycho types who want to brawl with the cops. To take (I hope) some of the heat out of comments, I will not discuss the issue of whether one group is less civil than the other, but will look at them on the same questions that I used to examine the extremes of the left-right spectrum.

The AES has a 0-10 left-right spectrum. Last time I used 0-1 for the left and 9-10 for the right. This time I will use 2-3 for the left and 7-8 for the right. This leaves out the great Australian middle, 4-6, which contains 58% of respondents to the AES.

For the strong feelings about parties and party leaders I will also relax assumptions. This is also on a 0-10 scale. Last time I used only 0 (labelled ‘strongly dislike’). This time I will use 0 and 1.

For ‘moderate’ lefties, 39% dislike the Liberal Party a lot. On the other side, 15% of ‘moderate’ right-wingers dislike the Labor Party a lot. On party leaders, 49% of ‘moderate’ lefties dislike Howard a lot, while 19% of ‘moderate’ right-wingers dislike Latham a lot. These are, I think, still pretty big differences. But I also checked to see what ‘moderate’ right-wingers thought of Bob Brown. 47% dislike Brown a lot, making him nearly as unpopular on the right as Howard is on the left. It shows that the moderate right is capable of as much dislike as the left.

On activism, there is one very big difference between the moderate right and left. 44% of the lefties had been to a protest in the previous 5 years, compared to 6% of the right-wingers. The lefties were also more likely to have worked with others to express their views, 39% compared to 22%. They were most alike on contacting officials, 38% on the left, 35% on the right. The left is more into collective action than the right.

What do middle Australians think about the leaders? 18% dislike Howard a lot. 12% disliked Latham a lot. Brown is the most unpopular, with 23.5% disliking him a lot.

Is the uni admissions system in ‘crisis’?

According to today’s lead story in the SMH:

THE universities admissions index system is in crisis, with many fee-paying students qualifying for places with HSC scores well below official cut-off marks. ….

Until now the UAI was regarded as a national standard to determine university entry,

This is fanciful. The newspapers obsess over the school leavers, but less than half of commencing students are admitted based on their Year 12 results. The latest published figures are 2003, when 43.24% of bachelor degree commencing students entered based on their school results. A quarter started their course based on previous university results, about 8% based on ‘mature age or other special provisions’, and 6.5% on tests prescribed by the university (such as the test the ANU is now using).

This is nothing novel; I have a table (in a pre-Internet publication, sorry) showing school leavers were a minority of commencing students in the late 1970s. So obviously universities have had to use many different ways of assessing who should be admitted. The great virtue of the UAI (or ENTER, as it is called elsewhere), from the universities’ perspective, is not that it creates a ‘standard’ (let alone a ‘national’ one) but that it is cheap, outsourcing most of the costs to the schools and enabling selection by computer.

The correlation between Year 12 results and first-year university results is, in the few published studies, around .3 or .4, making it only a moderately good predictor of how well an applicant will do in his or her university studies. Apparently, the correlation between previous university results and future university results is much higher, which would explain why so many applicants are accepted on this basis (especially now that the government is penalising universities for not hitting ther enrolment targets there is an incentive to take people with more predictable success rates).
Continue reading “Is the uni admissions system in ‘crisis’?”

Dob in a Trot

Clearly my hypothesis that the left is ruder than right has not won universal support. But I am sure the Victorian Police would agree with me. They have already charged 26 people with offences relating to the G20 protest that I linked to, and yesterday set up a Dob-in-a-Trot program by releasing photographs of 28 further persons of interest. I had been hoping to provide a name or two, but alas I don’t recognise any of them. But perhaps some student readers can help make life miserable for their campus foes?

The cops reckon they have enough, from one protest, to convict 26 lefties of criminal offences. I doubt that many names could be produced from a decade of Australian right-wing misbehaviour. On violence at least, in Australia the left is far more uncivil than the right.