Exploring the extent and nature of attitudinal ambivalence on public policy issues, these essays by distinguished scholars of public opinion examine citizens' conflicting attitudes about abortion, gay rights, environmental protection and property rights, crime and the police, and church-state relations. Linking ambivalence with a complex structure of belief, the contributors link the effects of ambivalence on information processing, the formation of policy preferences, and the impact of those policy preferences on voters' decisions. Using multiple approaches to measurement and research design, this volume helps build a sturdy foundation of knowledge about the phenomenon of ambivalence and its effects on politics. The concluding chapter provides an overview of our progress in understanding the effects of ambivalence on public opinion.
"Ambivalence is a central feature of Americans' reactions to much of contemporary politics here and abroad. This wonderful book highlights terrific new work that gives us many valuable insights into the nature, causes, and consequences of ambivalence in politics, while at the same time making important contributions to the basic psychology literature on attitude strength."
- Jon A. Krosnick, Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, Stanford University
"Ambivalence is a crucial topic, and this book provides a comprehensive treatment of the ways that attitudinal ambivalence affects the political system. Its unique and important contribution is the attention given to the electoral and policy-relevant consequences of citizens ambivalent feelings toward the political world, including important issues like welfare, abortion, civil rights, conservation, and church-state relations. It should be considered required reading for scholars of mass political behavior." - William G. Jacoby, Michigan State University