ERIC Number: ED223490
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Politics and the Structure of Policy Thinking.
Beck, Paul Allen
A comparison of public opinion about state and national political issues focuses on the degree of constraint expressed by individuals. Constraint is the individual's tendency to coherently cluster issues. It is manifested when, for example, one favors tax cuts and decreased spending; lack of constraint is illustrated when an individual simultaneously supports increased spending and tax cuts. Data were obtained from a cross-sectional survey of 929 adults in Florida. Participants responded to 15 key policy issues, both at state and national levels. Direction, intensity, and salience of each issue were measured. Participants' opinions can be categorized into four clusters: national policies concerning morals and the disadvantaged; state policies on taxing and spending. State attitudes were considerably less constrained than national attitudes. Conditions which contributed to constraint were high cognitive ability and exposure to political issues; however, political exposure was more important than cognitive ability on issues clearly characterized as liberal or conservative. At the state level, the basic problem is separation in the public mind between taxing and spending, a distinction which sends contradictory signals to political leaders. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (Denver, CO, September 2-5, 1982). Some pages may be marginally legible due to fading ink.