Research on American core political values, partisanship, and ideology often concludes that liberals and Democrats believe equality to be one of the most important values while conservatives and Republicans place greater emphasis on social order and moral traditionalism. Though these findings are valuable, it is assumed that they generalize across various groups (e.g. socioeconomic classes, religious groups, racial groups, etc.) in society. Focusing on racial groups in contemporary American politics, I challenge this assumption. More specifically, I argue that if individuals’ value preferences are formed during their pre-adult socialization years, and if the socialization process is different across racial groups, then it may be the case that members of different racial groups connect their value preferences to important political behaviors, including partisanship and ideology, in different ways as well. In the first part of this study, I fit a geometric model of value preferences to two different data sets—the first from 2010 and the second from 2002—and I show that although there is substantial value disagreement between white Democrats/liberals and Republicans/conservatives, that disagreement is smaller in Latinos and almost completely absent in African Americans. In the second part of this study, I demonstrate the political implications of these findings by estimating the effects of values on party and ideology, conditional on race. Results show that where whites’ value preferences affect their partisan and ideological group ties, the effects are smaller in Latinos and indistinguishable from zero in African Americans. I close by suggesting that scholars of values and political behavior ought to think in a more nuanced manner about how fundamental political cognitions relate to various attitudes and behaviors across different groups in society.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 21, 2016
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