Intrastate Regional Differences in Political Culture: A Case Study of Idaho

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Recent research suggests that regional differences in political attitudes exist over long periods of time, despite major social and economic changes (Weakliem and Biggert 1999, 864). Simply put, scholars have found that, with respect to political attitudes, place of residence matters (Erikson, Wright, and McIver 1993, 72; Gray 1999, 25). The objective of this study is to examine regional differences in political culture as they currently exist in the state of Idaho. Political culture is defined here as an expression of the social, cultural, economic, and political conditions that define the context of a person’s beliefs, attitudes, and values toward government. These conditions are represented by demographic variables (such as education, income, age, race, religion, and gender) as well as a sense of place, which we call regionalism. We ask: Does the regionalism that defined Idaho at its earliest beginnings and throughout the decades of the 1960s and 1970s resonate in the Idaho of today?