Earlier this week, Civitas released a new report about how the organizers of Moral Money Monday include recipients of over $100 million in direct state grants. But even as we’ve researched this and other projects, we continue to stay on top of our earlier study of the protest arrestees. As of today, our database is fully up to date and includes the arrests from the most recent (July 8) protests.
When we first released this database of protesters, some people were confused about our purpose. The purpose of our study was and always has been simple: to investigate claims made in the media and by protest organizers that the protesters are representative of North Carolina as a whole. We released the database along with our conclusions so that viewers could evaluate our process and replicate our results. All of the information that we used was public, and we withheld personal details that would not be relevant to an interested viewer. We invite those who claim that Civitas’ database was “intimidating” to look inside their local newspaper. They will find that arrestees are often identified with their home address as well as their name. Besides, arrestees are hardly trying to hide the fact that they were arrested. Many of them have penned testimonials or changed their Facebook profile pictures to their mugshots.
As you look through our database, here are some interesting things to point out:
In the state of North Carolina, white non-Latinos (e.g. Caucasians) represent only 65.3 percent of the population. But 84.7 percent of the arrestees have been white. Latino, black, and Asian citizens have been vastly underrepresented in these protests.
This graph compares age groups among arrestees versus the actual representation in the state. It shows that citizens in the 15-44 cohort are underrepresented, whereas older citizens are vastly overrepresented. Also, 66.3 percent of the arrestees are over 55, compared to 24.7 percent in the state.
Here is another interesting one. Most obviously, it suggests that the protests represent liberal – not bipartisan – interests. Of course that should be pretty evident to most North Carolinians, but the media has certainly suggested otherwise. The bigger one here is actually the “unaffiliated” voters. The graph shows that 19 percent of the arrestees are registered as unaffiliated voters, but in North Carolina unaffiliated voters comprise 25.9 percent of the registered electorate. That’s good news for the Republicans, since registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by almost 800,000. It suggests that unaffiliated voters continue to skew conservative. That’s not really surprising when you think about the recent elections, but local and national media have tried to show otherwise.
Finally, this. At Civitas we have never claimed that protests were heavily “astro-turfed,” as our data shows that only about 3 percent of arrestees were from out of state (with a noticeable uptick in the July 1 and July 8 protests). That said, it’s pretty clear that the out-of-staters getting arrested are not the only out-of-staters at the protests. The picture above was taken at the July 1 protest – it’s a van full of SEIU union members from New York. The SEIU has been heavily involved in the protests, as evidenced by the fact that eight senior members (including the president and four vice presidents) of the 1199 chapter in New York have been arrested. This, like so many things in this whole affair, was ignored by the media.
As always, we invite you to explore and interact with our data.
Photo above courtesy of Wake Citizens Coalition.