Is It Really Ambivalence?
Ambivalence within citizens’ political orientations is currently an important topic for scholars interested in American public opinion. The very existence of the volume within which this chapter appears is telling evidence of that fact. The usual conception of ambivalence stresses that individuals feel pulled in conflicting directions by the beliefs that enter into the development of their own attitudes. Empirically, ambivalence is manifested by the expression of contradictory opinions. However, I believe that a note of caution would be useful. We should not be too eager and always assume that contradictory opinions signal the presence of attitudinal ambivalence. There are, of course, many other potential sources for conflicting feelings about government, politics, and policy.
KeywordsGovernment Spending Policy Area Food Stamp Party Identification American National Election Study
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