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Who Wants Small Government?

How much do political ideology and socioeconomic status (income and education) impact opinion on the role of government?  

Conservative ideology and higher socioeconomic status (Income/Education) is associated with a desire for smaller government (Figure 1). However, there is a strong interaction between politics and socioeconomic status (Figure 2).  Higher Income/education impacts opinions of Republicans but has negligible effect on Democrats/Liberals.  These patterns hold across time, geography, and other demographic controls of the respondent (Figure 3). 


American National Election Studies (ANES Time Series, 1948–2012). Data can be downloaded from

Figure 2: Interaction of Socioeconomic & Politics

Figure 3: See Interaction by Time, Geography, & Other demographics

Figure 4: Politics/Ideology & All demographic Interactions