Political Behavior

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 53–72 | Cite as

Education and mass belief systems: An extension and some new questions

  • Stephen Earl Bennett
  • Robert Oldendick
  • Alfred J. Tuchfarber
  • George F. Bishop


Using the SRC/CPS's national election surveys from 1956 to 1976, this paper investigates the effect of education on consistency among the public's domestic policy opinions. Evidence from both gamma correlations and factor analysis indicates that education has neither a strong nor a linear effect on issue constraint over the 20 years covered by the data, for the lowest and the highest education strata consistently show the highest levels of constraint. We do not conclude, however, that education is unrelated to recognition of ideological concepts, for almost one-half of the lowest education stratum do not use “liberal” and “conservative” terms. We conclude that issue constraint does not directly translate into ideology and suggest some new directions that future research should take if we are to evaluate effectively the effect of education on opinion structuring.


High Education Lower Education Belief System Linear Effect Policy Opinion 
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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Earl Bennett
    • 1
  • Robert Oldendick
    • 2
  • Alfred J. Tuchfarber
    • 2
  • George F. Bishop
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of CincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Behavioral Sciences LaboratoryUniversity of CincinnatiUSA

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