Two opinion surveys I have not conducted

1. I teach in a state university deep in the interior of the USA.  It is likely that most of my students plan to settle in urban areas after they graduate, but a significant minority would strongly prefer to live in rural areas.  And it is definitely the case that most of them are looking for a person with whom to live, in whichever setting they prefer.

The students seem to spend more time than one might expect arguing about what restrictions, if any, the law should place on private gun ownership.  I wonder if they raise this topic as a way of signaling to potential mates whether they plan to settle in the city or in the countryside.  I’m not an opinion researcher, but perhaps someone who is might like to see if support for lax gun laws is a strong indicator of a preference for a rural life and support for restrictive gun laws is a strong indicator of a preference for city life.  If it should turn out that these opinions are strong indicators of these preferences, it would be interesting to see under just what sort of circumstances people volunteer opinions about gun control and strive to be identified with those opinions.

2. My wife has cerebral palsy.  Many of her friends, like her, grew up with major disabilities.  The university where I teach prides itself on accessibility to the disabled, so both through my marriage and through my work I have come to know a substantial number of articulate, highly educated people who have been visibly disabled throughout their lives.

It seems to me that the people I know who meet this description show the same range of opinions as do Americans generally about public policy regarding abortion.  Some think that abortion should always be legal, some think it should always be illegal, some support each of a variety of restrictions.  What none of them accepts is the label “pro-choice.”  I’ve heard people who would not vote for a policy that would bar or discourage any abortion anywhere hotly deny that they are “pro-choice.”  I don’t know if my acquaintances are in any way representative of Americans with disabilities.  If a survey showed that American adults who grew up as disabled children are in fact much more likely to want to keep abortion legal than they are to call themselves “pro-choice,” and that they are in this way different from American adults who grew up without visible disabilities, I wonder what we might find about the label “pro-choice” and the rhetoric associated with it that they find repellent.

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