Chapter

Policy Attitudes and Political Sophistication

Paul Goren

in On Voter Competence

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396140
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979301 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396140.003.0003

Series: Series in Political Psychology

Policy Attitudes and Political Sophistication

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The first step in developing the theory of policy voting requires explaining what is meant by policy attitudes and political sophistication, which represent the key concepts that animate the book. Scholars have identified three broad classes of policy attitudes that people may hold: liberal conservative attitudes, issue preferences, and policy principles. The chapter draws on social-psychological models of the attitude construct to conceptualize each class of policy attitudes as evaluations of some political object that endure to a greater or lesser degree. The object in question is what distinguishes policy attitudes: these include liberal-conservative labels, diverse issue controversies, and the principles of limited government, traditional morality, and military strength. After explicating policy attitudes, the chapter defines political sophistication and assesses its distribution in the U.S. public.

Keywords: attitudes; liberal-conservative orientations; issues; policy principles; political sophistication; knowledge

Chapter.  7980 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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