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Attitude Organization in the General Public: Evidence for a Bidimensional Structure

John A. Fleishman
Social Forces
Vol. 67, No. 1 (Sep., 1988), pp. 159-184
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2579105
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2579105
Page Count: 26
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Attitude Organization in the General Public: Evidence for a Bidimensional Structure
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Abstract

This paper examines interrelationships among attitudes toward a wide range of political and social topics. The issue under investigation is whether, and how, social attitudes are organized or structured among the general public. While many assume that attitudes are organized in terms of a single underlying ideology of liberalism/conservatism, others argue that attitudes show little organization, or that attitude structure is bidimensional. To address this issue, this study analyzes data from two separate national surveys, each containing information about a large number of attitude topics. In both data sets, confirmatory factor analyses support a bidimensional model. Social and political attitudes are organized along at least two uncorrelated dimensions: economic welfare policy, on the one hand, and individual liberty, on the other. Results point to qualifications in Kerlinger's (1984) criterial referents theory of attitude structure.

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