Volume 11 (2013)
Volume 10 (2012)
Volume 9 (2011)
Most Downloaded Articles
- Richer Parties, Better Politics? Party-Centered Campaign Finance Laws and American Democracy by La Raja, Raymond J.
- The Catholics and the Others: The Denominational Backdrop to Modern American Politics by Shafer, Byron E. and Spady, Richard H.
- What the Filibuster Tells Us About the Senate by Schickler, Eric and Wawro, Gregory J.
- The Citizens United Election? Or Same As It Ever Was? by Franz, Michael M
- The Return of the Voter: Voter Turnout in the 2008 Presidential Election by McDonald, Michael P.
Political Ideology in American Politics: One, Two, or None?
2Kent State University - Kent Campus
3University of Wisconsin-Madison
Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 10, Issue 3, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: 10.1515/1540-8884.1526, October 2012
- Published Online:
Are Americans ideological, and if so, what are the foundations of their ideology? According to Converse’s seminal view, whatever the case in other western democracies and despite its centrality to traditional versions of textbook democracy, the American public is distinctly non-ideological. Our objective is to compare the standard and by far most widely used measure of political ideology—a measure that presumes ideology is one-dimensional—to a more recent measure that allows for a multi-dimensional conception and measurement. This measure demonstrates that while American political elites compete across a single dimension of conflict, the American people organize their policy attitudes around two distinct dimensions, one economic and one social. After explaining how we derived the measure and how it can be used to develop five separate ideological groups, we show how these groups differ politically and why it is not possible to map their preferences onto a one-dimensional measure of ideology.