Ambivalence and Value Conflict: A Test of Two Issues
The essays in this volume and its companion, Ambivalence and the Structure of Political Opinion (Craig and Martinez 2005), add to a growing literature on the frequency, nature, and consequences of ambivalence in public opinion. It now seems clear, for example, that considerable proportions of the population do not necessarily possess a single “true” attitude on many political issues, but rather a store of multiple and sometimes conflicting attitudes that they might draw upon at any given time (Zaller and Feldman 1992; also see Tesser 1978; Hochschild 1981; Tourangeau and Rasinski 1988; Zaller 1992; Schwartz and Bless 1992; Wilson and Hodges 1992; Hill and Kriesi 2001). While scholars have collectively explored the existence of ambivalence across a number of policy domains (e.g., Alvarez and Brehm 1995, 1997; Craig, Kane, and Martinez 2002; Craig et al. 2005b; Jacoby 2005), its source has yet to be conclusively identified. Theory contends that the principal underlying source of attitudinal ambivalence is value conflict (Alvarez and Brehm 1995; Eagly and Chaiken 1993; Zaller 1992; Katz and Hass 1988), but that conclusion is more often assumed or inferred than empirically demonstrated at the individual level. In this chapter, we focus on the issues of abortion and gay rights, offering evidence in support of the argument that ambivalence is indeed rooted in the clash of core values.
KeywordsLegal Abortion Adult Role Moral Traditionalism Traditional Lifestyle Elective Abortion
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