Partisan Identification and Attitudes to Big Versus Small Government in Australia: Evidence from the ISSP

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Abstract:

In Australian politics, Labor has traditionally been thought of as the party of big government and the Liberals the party of small government. Drawing from evidence from the 1985, 1990, 1996 and 2007 International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) Role of Government surveys, this article examines public opinion in relation to the role of government and how public attitudes towards government differ according to party identification. It is reasonable to expect that Labor Party identifiers would be more supportive of big government, but there is little empirical evidence to support this expectation. This article shows that citizens' attitudes still accord with the Labor–Liberal/big–small government dichotomy and shows partisan identification to have an enduring effect on attitudes towards the role of government, net of other factors.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10361146.2011.567971

Affiliations: University of Melbourne,

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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