Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Mariano Torcal & Jordi Muñoz
Political beliefs can be defined as individual psychological orientations toward objects of a cognitive nature in the political world (e.g., polities, institutions, actors) that consist of the perceived likelihood of a given attribute being attached to them. Therefore, a political belief has three basic components: an object, an attribute, and the perceived subjective probability that the object and the attribute go together. However, as with other concepts such as values or attitudes, political beliefs are hard to define properly, having been subject to different and even contradictory uses. Furthermore, any survey of the literature will show how political beliefs are measured in different and often imprecise ways. It is, thus, a concept still “open” to full discussion, or, as Imre Lakatos would have put it, it is a concept still in the “morphological phase.” Therefore, this entry first reviews the main uses and definitions of the concept found in the ...