Political Trust, Ideology, and Public Support for Government Spending

Authors


  • An earlier version of this article was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, Sept. 2–5, 2004. We thank Pamela Conover, Marc Hetherington, Jim Kuklinski, Melanye Price, and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

Thomas J. Rudolph is associate professor of political science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 361 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801 (rudolph@uiuc.edu). Jillian Evans is a Ph.D. candidate in political science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 361 Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801 (jeevans2@uiuc.edu).

Abstract

This article analyzes the relationship between political trust, ideology, and public support for government spending. We argue that the political trust heuristic is activated when individuals are asked to sacrifice ideological as well as material interests. Aggregate- and individual-level analysis shows that the effects of political trust on support for government spending are moderated by ideology. Consistent with the unbalanced ideological costs imposed by requests for increased government spending, we find that the effects of political trust are significantly more pronounced among conservatives than among liberals. The analysis further demonstrates that ideology conditions the effects of political trust on attitudes toward both distributive and redistributive spending. Our findings suggest that political trust has policy consequences across a much broader range of policy issues than previously thought.

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