Disagreement, Ambivalence, and Engagement: The Political Consequences of Heterogeneous Networks



Individuals with similar political orientations may find themselves in dissimilar social and political surroundings, with important consequences for the flow of political information among citizens. Analyses of data from the post-election survey of the 1900 National Election Study show that some individuals reside within extensive networks of political discussion and communication, whereas others are politically isolated. With respect to presidential candidate preference in 1900, some citizens in networks were surrounded by discussants who agreed with their preference, others by discussants who held ambiguous and undetermined preferences, and still others by discussants who held politically divergent preferences. These preference distributions have various implications for the formation of political opinion and for levels of political engagement and turnout.