A high-level overview of the processes by which individuals develop political values and beliefs.
Political scientists measure how US political behavior, attitudes, and ideologies are shaped by a number of factors over time. Individuals acquire political beliefs due to cultural factors, including their demographic characteristics and their experiences with family, friends, school, religion, and the media.
|demographic characteristics||Socioeconomic characteristics of a population, including age, race, gender, religion, marital status, occupation, education level, and more. These characteristics influence how individuals tend to vote and whether they identify with a political party,|
|globalization||The growth of an interconnected world economy and culture, fueled by lowered trade barriers between nations and advances in communications technology. Globalization has influenced American politics by increasing the extent to which the United States influences, and is influenced by, the values of other countries,|
|party identification||An individual’s sense of loyalty to a specific political party.|
|political socialization||The process by which a person develops political values and beliefs, including through interactions with family, friends, school, religious and civic groups, and the media.|
Influence of demographic factors on party identification
|Characteristic||Statistically more likely to identify as a Democrat||Statistically more likely to identify as a Republican|
|Income level||Low-income individuals||High-income individuals|
|Marital status||Single, divorced or widowed individuals||Married individuals|
|Employment||Blue-collar workers||White collar workers, women who work in the home|
|Race||African Americans and Hispanic Americans||Whites|
|Religion||Jews, those unaffiliated with a religion||Protestants, Catholics|
|Region||Northeasterners, Westerners||Midwesterners, Southerners|
|Age||Younger and older Americans||Middle-aged Americans|
|Union membership||Union members||Non-union members|
|Parental politics||Parents strongly aligned with Democratic Party||Parents strongly aligned with Republican Party|
Why are certain demographic groups more likely to align with the Democratic or Republican Party?
How do individuals form their political beliefs? What are the major factors that affect beliefs?