Many studies have focused on the relationship between political information and the use of ideology. Here, we argue that two "evaluative motivations"-general investment of the self in politics and extremity of partisanship-serve as moderators of this relationship. Specifically, we use data from two recent national surveys to test whether the possession of information is more strongly associated with a tendency to approach politics in an ideological fashion among individuals high in both types of evaluative motivation. Results supported this hypothesis, revealing that information was more strongly associated with ideological constraint and with a tendency to give polarized evaluations of conservatives and liberals among those who highly invest the self in politics and those with more extreme partisanship. As such, this study suggests that information and involvement interact to shape the use of ideology.
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Acknowledgments Portions of this article were presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, DC, 2–5 September 2010. The authors would like to thank the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, for the 2004 American National Election Study data; and James Druckman, for his helpful comments. Funding for the 2008 IMIS was provided by National Science Foundation Grant BCS-0742455 to Christopher M. Federico.
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