Annals of Social Science, Chapter 12,186

Oh goody, something new for The View and other fanatical leftists to worry about. Fans of statistical fallacies and other quantitative flim-flam will know that it is possible to demonstrate a correlation between storks and the birth rate, but social science has moved on to much more significant questions, such as “anti-wolf sentiment.” And especially anti-wolf sentiment among—wait for it!—the “far right.”

A recent study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which used to have standards, purports to find a correlation between anti-wolf sentiment and far-right voting in Germany. some samples from “Wolf Attacks Predict Far-Right Voting”:

How antiwolf sentiments play out electorally remains an open question. One recent study finds that support for a conservation ballot in the United States was lower in areas with wolf populations. Survey data suggest that US Republicans are more likely to hold antiwolf attitudes. In several European countries, right-wing populist parties cater to rural concerns about the wolf—although scholars also note an increasing concern for biodiversity as well as a positive fascination with the wolf on the populist right. . .

Municipalities exposed to wolf attacks on livestock witness significantly rising vote shares of the far-right AfD [AfD is Alternative for Deutschland, the populist party founded in 2013]. . .  In federal elections the AfD gains between 1 and 2 percentage points once a wolf has attacked. . . At the same time, we find inconsistent evidence on whether wolf attacks are associated with a drop in voting for the Green party.

I especially like Figure 1 from the study—a perfect example of a picture telling a thousand words that reveal that the authors of this study lack all common sense:

If the left part of the frame displayed the crime rate instead of wolf attacks, would anyone think this result irrational or remarkable at all? Second, if you follow German politics even casually, you will know that the AfD is strongest in the former East Germany, where there is the highest resentment against the German government on questions especially of immigration. The study’s authors seem to know this, stating at the end:

[E]ven though municipalities that witnessed wolf attacks swing right, we do not know how this compares to other factors explaining the vote for the radical right, such as antiimmigrant sentiment. That said, in our models we controlled for common determinants of far-right voting. . . we must caution that our analysis—although it absorbs a variety of likely confounders—still risks missing some sources of confounding, and one should be cautious in interpreting the findings in a causal manner.

In other words, you might as well just go with storks as your causal factor.

Chaser: the study mentions that “many more wolf packs are expected to find territories in Europe—models estimate an increase to up to 1,400 packs in Germany from 150 today.” Sounds like the dubbed version of Yellowstone is likely to be a hit on German TV.

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