The Effects of Information and Social Cleavages: Explaining Issue Attitudes and Vote Choice in Canada

Bittner, Amanda (2007) The Effects of Information and Social Cleavages: Explaining Issue Attitudes and Vote Choice in Canada. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 40 (4). pp. 935-968.

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Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between social group identity and the level of political information in explaining Canadians' issue attitudes and vote choices. Traditional accounts of Canadians' partisan political leanings have placed a great deal of emphasis on social group identity in explaining attitudes. However based on data from the Canadian Election Studies from 1988–2004, it is argued that both social group identity and information influence the nature of vote choice and public opinion in Canada. In fact, the level of voter information has two contradictory effects on the political attitudes of different social groups. In some cases voters' level of information reduces the role of social group identity in explaining attitudes and vote choices; information acts to bridge the differences between different social groups (for example Catholics/non-Catholics and urban/rural Canadians). In other cases, voters' level of information acts to amplify the importance of social group identity in predicting attitudes (for example women/men and religious/nonreligious). These findings suggest that not only is social group identity a less effective predictor of attitudes than has traditionally been thought but that there are also significant underlying differences between the so-called “old” and “new” cleavages in Canada when it comes to understanding their impact on political values.


13 Citations in Google Scholar
Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/88
Item ID: 88
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: 2007
Date Type: Publication

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