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Unexpected preferences: Exploring conservative attitudes toward healthcare spending

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Author: Hall, Maggie
In many western democracies, self-proclaimed conservatives display attitudes that are ill-fit with conservative political ideology. This is evident in conservative attitudes toward healthcare spending, with conservatives supporting increased healthcare spending far more than their ideological self-placement would lead us to expect. Using data from Canada, the United States, and Britain, this research seeks to explain this puzzle by examining conservatives as two distinct groups: those who have political preferences that correspond with their ideological identity, and those who do not. I find that in some ways, these two groups of conservatives are different and behave differently, but the differences are not consistent across all three countries. In addition, consistency between political attitudes and ideological identity explains conservative support for healthcare spending in Canada and the United States, but not Britain.
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