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Attitude Attribution: A Group Basis for Political Reasoning

Henry E. Brady and Paul M. Sniderman
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 79, No. 4 (Dec., 1985), pp. 1061-1078
DOI: 10.2307/1956248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1956248
Page Count: 18
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Attitude Attribution: A Group Basis for Political Reasoning
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Abstract

This article shows that citizens can estimate what politically strategic groups--liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and blacks and whites--stand for on major issues. These attitude attributions follow from a simple calculus, a likability heuristic. This heuristic is rooted in people's likes and dislikes of political groups. Thanks to this affective calculus, many in the mass public are able to estimate who stands for what politically, notwithstanding shortfalls in information and information processing.

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