Alexandria Digital Research Library

The Effects of Party Identification on Attitudes toward Reproductive Rights, 1977-2010

Mills, Greta Gunnhildur
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Sociology
Degree Supervisor:
Maria Charles
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Sociology, General
Political parties
Birth control
Reproductive rights
Sex education
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
M.A.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2013

In light of ongoing academic debates about U.S. "culture wars," and the continued politicization of reproductive rights, I examine Republican-Democrat attitude divergence over reproductive rights among the general public. The attitude divergence over abortion that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, which is largely attributed to party "sorting" or realignment, has been well documented (Abramowitz and Saunders 1998, 2005, 2008; Adams 1997; DiMaggio, Evans, and Bryson 1996; Evans 2003; Fiorina, Abrams, and Pope 2011; Fischer and Mattson 2009; Wolbrecht 2000, 2002). However, less is known about the underlying causes of this realignment. While many scholars point to shifting party demographics and religious factors as causing the attitude realignment and divergence, the role of political party identification remains underappreciated. I address the following research questions: (1) what is the effect of political party identification on attitudes toward reproductive rights, net of religious and other factors, and how has it changed over time? (2) Does the effect of political party identification vary by gender? Using data from the 1972-2010 General Social Surveys, I find that partisan attitudes toward abortion, birth control for teens, and sex education share a very similar pattern of divergence among the public, and that political party identification largely increases in explanatory value in the 1990s and 2000s for all three of these variables even when accounting for religious and other demographic factors. Additionally, I find that female Democrats became increasingly liberal in their attitudes toward abortion at a faster rate than male Democrats. My conclusion discusses possible causes of the increasing effects of Republican and Democratic Party identification.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (80 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Greta Mills
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