Kevin Drum has blogged my MoJo piece, and while he likes it, he adds this:
…be prepared to be annoyed when Chris wrenches his spine out of shape bending over backward to find an example of liberals denying science as much as conservatives. It might be true that you can find vaccine deniers in the aisles of Whole Foods, but if there’s any rigorous evidence that belief in the vaccine-autism link is especially pronounced or widespread among liberals, I haven’t seen it. Surely there’s a better, more substantive example than that floating around somewhere?
So I want to further explain my assertion that vaccine denial “largely occupies” the political left. It arises, basically, from my long familiarity with this issue, having read numerous books about it, etc.
First, it is certainly true that environmentalists and Hollywood celebrities have been the loudest proponents of anti-vaccine views. To me, that is evidence, although not necessarily definitive. So is the fact that we see dangerously large clusters of the unvaccinated in places like Ashland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado, which are very leftwing cities.
Interestingly, there does not appear to be any polls or other really hard data on this issue. My feeling is that a more liberal axis is involved but it is easy to be fooled. It might be hard to get a good handle on since I also think that real anti-vxxers are fairly rare and might not be a large enough part of the population to easily poll.