*Direct correspondence to Jay Barth, Department of Politics and International Relations, Hendrix College, 1600 Washington Ave., Conway, AR 72032 〈email@example.com〉. The authors will share all data and coding information with those wishing to replicate the study.
Political Culture, Public Opinion, and Policy (Non)Diffusion: The Case of Gay- and Lesbian-Related Issues in Arkansas*
Article first published online: 13 APR 2009
© 2009 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
Social Science Quarterly
Volume 90, Issue 2, pages 309–325, June 2009
How to Cite
Barth, J. and Parry, J. (2009), Political Culture, Public Opinion, and Policy (Non)Diffusion: The Case of Gay- and Lesbian-Related Issues in Arkansas. Social Science Quarterly, 90: 309–325. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2009.00619.x
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 13 APR 2009
Objectives. Just after three in four Arkansas voters endorsed a state constitutional amendment barring state recognition of same-sex marriages, a comprehensive state-level survey allowed a closer look into the attitudes of Arkansans on a variety of gay- and lesbian-related issues. When placed in the context of Arkansas's political culture and ideological patters, this serves as a case study of the relationship between public opinion, specific policy issues, and the diffusion (or nondiffusion) of policies in an individual state.
Methods. The 2005 Arkansas Poll included a battery of questions gauging citizens' attitudes on gay/lesbian individuals and the morality of same-sex relations, same-sex partner recognition, bans on gay adoption and foster parenting, bans on gays openly serving in the U.S. military, and expansion of civil rights laws to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, among other policies. This article reports those survey results and employs regression/logistic analysis in analyzing them.
Results. The results reveal that while Arkansans are uncomfortable with homosexuality, they are surprisingly hesitant to prescribe state-sanctioned discrimination.
Conclusions. This tightrope between libertarianism and angst about homosexuality that resulted in policy nondiffusion until three years after the data reported here is reflective of the state's political culture, which combines traditionalistic and individualistic elements.