With national attention riveted in recent weeks on factors swaying voting decisions — the impact of debates, the effectiveness of television advertisements, the marketing of candidates and the spinning of news and pseudo-news — one key influence tends to be overlooked: political scientists have demonstrated just how important peers are in determining our decisions to go to the polls and which lever we actually will pull.
- First, relative to the American population as a whole, Jews maintain much denser immediate and intimate social networks. Whereas the average American has 2.1 “intimates” with whom he or she can discuss “important matters,” the typical Jew has 3.9 — an 86 percent difference.
- Second, as demonstrated many times before, strong connections with other Jews — as evidenced by attending Shabbat dinners frequently, having strong feelings of belonging to a Jewish community, and befriending mainly Jews – are positively correlated with parents sending their children to summer camps.
- hird, and most critically, after running statistical analyses to control for various socio-economic and institutional factors, we found that the recommendations of intimates strongly drive the decision to send one’s child to a Jewish summer camp. Moreover, we also found that memberships in Jewish institutions such as synagogues, personal socioeconomic status, and a sense of belonging to the larger community are not as powerful in driving the decision to enroll children in a Jewish summer camp.