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Change in the Structure of American Political Attitudes: The Nagging Question of Question Wording

George F. Bishop, Alfred J. Tuchfarber and Robert W. Oldendick
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 22, No. 2 (May, 1978), pp. 250-269
DOI: 10.2307/2110616
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2110616
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Change in the Structure of American Political Attitudes: The Nagging Question of Question Wording
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Abstract

One of the current controversies raging in the voting behavior literature concerns the "rational" character of the American electorate. The early Michigan studies depicted the typical American voter as nonrational and inconsistent in his political attitudes, while recent research has cast him in a more favorable light. Using data from the 1956 and 1964 SRC Election Studies, this article demonstrates that much of the change which has been uncovered during this period can be traced to methodological artifacts, specifically changes in question wording and format introduced by the SRC in 1964. The effects of these artifacts have some major implications for many current theories of electoral behavior.

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