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Political awareness, opinion constraint and the stability of ideological positions

Bartle, J (2000) 'Political awareness, opinion constraint and the stability of ideological positions.' Political Studies, 48 (3). 467 - 484. ISSN 0032-3217

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Abstract

Some studies of public opinion suggest that most people are ignorant about the detail of politics and are simply unable to arrive at a considered vote. They hold that voters are ignorant about the ideological substance of politics, since their opinions do not appear to be constrained by ideas and are unstable over time. However, other studies cast doubt on both the definition of ideology employed in these studies and their operational measures. It is suggested that, once allowance is made for measurement error, the opinions of most voters are constrained and highly stable. This article demonstrates that differences in political awareness result in considerable heterogeneity among the electorate. The opinions of more aware voters are subject to greater constraint and are more stable over time than those of less aware voters. It is therefore suggested that issue-voting models must be applied with caution to less aware voters.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Peter Josse
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2015 17:01
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:49
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056

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