Identifying the domains of ideological similarities and differences in attitudes

E.R. Kubin, M.J. Brandt

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Liberals and conservatives disagree, but are there some domains where we are more or less likely to observe ideological differences? To map the types of attitudes where we may be more or less likely to observe ideological differences, we draw on two approaches, the elective affinities approach, which suggests individual differences explains differences between liberals and conservatives, and the divergent content approach, which posits the key distinction between ideologues are their value orientations. The goal of the current research was to explore when and why liberals and conservatives disagree. We tested whether ideological differences are more likely to emerge in attitudes characterized by threat, complexity, morality, political ideology, religious ideology, or harm (as compared to objects not characterized by these domains) using both explicit and implicit measures of 190 attitude objects. While all domains predicted ideological differences, the political domain was the only significant predictor of ideological differences when controlling for the other domains. This study provides insight into which attitudes we are most and least likely to find ideological differences.
Keywords: ideological differences, attitudes, ideology, threat, complexity
Original languageEnglish
JournalComprehensive Results in Social Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


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