Defining “Politically Conservative” Students

Political conservatives hold extreme views on the following items:

  • [I agree that] affirmative action in college admissions should be abolished.
  • [I agree that] it is important that the United States maintain a strong military.
  • [I agree that] through hard work, everybody can succeed in American society.
  • [I disagree that] wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes than they do now.
  • [I disagree that] a national health plan is needed to cover everybody’s medical costs.
  • We found a modest degree of correlation among these items, with a Cronbach’s alpha of .584. Political conservatives scored more than one standard deviation above the mean on a composite of these items. Political liberals scored more than one standard deviation below the mean.