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Title: Issues, groups, or values? Expanding the scope of conservative theory
Authors: Borelli, Gabriel
Advisors: Guess, Andrew
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: elections
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation explores two questions about American public opinion in recent years. First, what does it mean to be for Americans to identify as conservative in politics today, and what may have contributed to changes from in how voters understand what it means to be conservative in recent years? In other words, how do conservative voters understand evaluate issues; and what causes them to associate what and who with conservatism? In doing so, I propose a theory of value conservatism in my first chapter in which I suggest that underlying values that drive voters to identify as conservative are consistent over time even as the operationalization of these values may change. This may thus give the appearance of issue inconsistency and ideological innocence even as underlying values remain consistent. Perceptions of conservative ideology are strongly tied to beliefs emphasizing maintaining traditional values and “conserving” the status quo-- or, in some cases, altering it in a way that benefits them--- and conservative voters support and identify policies as conservative when such voters perceive them to be conserving. I test this in a set of experiments in my first and second chapters, finding a mix of evidence corroborating this theory. In turn, I analyze in my third chapter the circumstances that may have helped facilitate ideological shifts among voters in the years leading up to Trump's election, using e-newsletters and Tweets to show that even Republicans often seen as part of the party establishment mirrored the rhetoric of outsider and more extreme Republicans in the years prior to Trump's 2016 victory.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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