The effect of interpersonal environment, as measured by the degree of heterogeneity or homogeneity of political party preferences among important others in an individual's social network, was investigated using a national probability sample in Japan and regional sample in New Zealand. In both cultures, the interpersonal environment exerted significant and consistent effects on individual voting preferences. Those who reported inhabiting relatively homogeneous interpersonal political environments (IPEs) displayed a strong tendency to vote for the same political party as the important others in their social network. This effect was robust even after controlling for party identification, attitudes, media exposure, and objectively defined group memberships. Importantly, this tendency was not predicated on the frequency of talk about politics with significant others. Implications are discussed for both micro-level and macro-level theories of social structure and political behavior; an argument is made for the importance of a “middle path”—the psychology of enduring relationships between people.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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