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Keywords:

  • authoritarianism;
  • feminism;
  • party identification;
  • Clinton;
  • Lewinsky;
  • impeachment

This study explored the relationship among undergraduates' right-wing authoritarianism (as measured by the RWA scale), attitudes toward feminism, party identification, gender, and attitudes about the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship. Factor analysis yielded three subscales, reflecting participants' evaluations of Clinton's morality, the affair, and Kenneth Starr (the independent counsel). Republican identification was related to each subscale and also mediated the relationship between RWA and two subscales, which illustrates how party identification channels the expression of personality variables in partisan contexts. In addition, RWA—especially those items tapping aggression—was directly related to negative evaluations of Clinton, which suggests a punitiveness going beyond the mere channeling of opinions by party identification. Attitudes toward feminism were unrelated to the subscales, possibly because feminism supporters viewed Clinton's policies positively but his behavior negatively. However, females did give significantly lower evaluations of Clinton and the affair.