ERIC Number: ED196739
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Structure and Stability of Political Attitudes: Findings from the 1974-1976 Dearborn Panel Study.
Wayman, Frank Whelon; Stockton, Ronald R.
Based on a panel study of 800 voters in Dearborn, Michigan, this report examines the impact of political attitudes on the party system and on the presidential elections of 1972 and 1976. The central thesis is that public opinion can be classified into two clusters of attitudes, one which disrupts and the other which reinforces partisan voting. The Disintegration Cluster consists of attitudes on life styles, law and order, racial prejudice, and a hierarchy of values. The Alignment Cluster consists of attitudes toward government involvement in the economy and toward the party system. Also investigated was the stability of issues. It was found that party identification remains the most stable political object and that old and new issues exist simulataneously rather than new issues replacing old ones. In terms of the presidential elections, results indicate that the Disintegration Cluster had a significant effect in 1972. In that election the voter's choice of Nixon or McGovern was significantly affected by opinions on women's liberation, busing, and post-materialism. The 1976 election (Ford-Carter), however, was dominated by party identification and images of the candidates. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Prepared for delivery at Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (Washington, DC, August 28-31, 1980).