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Latino Political Trust and Policy Preferences: The Impact of Trust on Health Care Reform in California
Unformatted Document Text:  Introduction Trust in government would seem to be, on the most basic level, a vital component of a representative democracy (Gamson 1968; Bianco 1994; Levi 1997). However, since the mid-1960s trust in government has decreased in America and remains low today (Citrin 1974; Miller 1974; Craig 1993; Rosenstone and Hansen 1993; Hetherington 2004). Still, America has operated as a functional democracy even with elevated levels of distrust in government. Political trust, as does other important political variables, has consequences and this paper seeks to study the impact of political trust on policy preferences. More specifically, it seeks to analyze whether trust impacts the policy preferences of Latinos and whether the effect of trust is the same for whites and Latinos. Another component of the paper will examine the “sacrificed based” theory advanced by Marc J. Hetherington (2004), while the final component of the analysis will examine Rudolph and Evans’ ideological sacrifice theory. In both of the last two components the analysis, the extension of this prior research into a Latino-only model will advance our knowledge regarding the impact of political trust on Latinos. Literature Review Political Trust Although trust is a ubiquitous term in political science, there is some debate concerning its meaning. The debate focuses on whether trust or support is specific or diffuse (Easton 1965). Some scholars relate trust to specific support (Citrin 1974; Citrin and Green 1986); while others view political trust as a measure of diffuse support (Miller 1974). This debate is important because of the consequences associated with each. The consequences of specific support are said to be limited due to the potential for the improvement of an incumbent’s job performance, 2

Authors: Bonner, Dean.
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Introduction
Trust in government would seem to be, on the most basic level, a vital component of a
representative democracy (Gamson 1968; Bianco 1994; Levi 1997). However, since the
mid-1960s trust in government has decreased in America and remains low today (Citrin 1974;
Miller 1974; Craig 1993; Rosenstone and Hansen 1993; Hetherington 2004). Still, America has
operated as a functional democracy even with elevated levels of distrust in government.
Political trust, as does other important political variables, has consequences and this
paper seeks to study the impact of political trust on policy preferences. More specifically, it
seeks to analyze whether trust impacts the policy preferences of Latinos and whether the effect
of trust is the same for whites and Latinos. Another component of the paper will examine the
“sacrificed based” theory advanced by Marc J. Hetherington (2004), while the final component
of the analysis will examine Rudolph and Evans’ ideological sacrifice theory. In both of the last
two components the analysis, the extension of this prior research into a Latino-only model will
advance our knowledge regarding the impact of political trust on Latinos.
Literature Review
Political Trust
Although trust is a ubiquitous term in political science, there is some debate concerning
its meaning. The debate focuses on whether trust or support is specific or diffuse (Easton 1965).
Some scholars relate trust to specific support (Citrin 1974; Citrin and Green 1986); while others
view political trust as a measure of diffuse support (Miller 1974). This debate is important
because of the consequences associated with each. The consequences of specific support are
said to be limited due to the potential for the improvement of an incumbent’s job performance,
2


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