Political Efficacy, Involvement and Trust: Testing for Regional Political Culture in Australia

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Abstract

Data from the 1993 Australian Election Study are used in this article to test whether the Australian states have discernible regional political cultures. This study is based on the approach of Simeon and Elkins (1974) who examined this question in the Canadian context. Responses from the 1993 Australian survey dealing with political efficacy, involvement and trust were analysed in a variety of ways to see if significant state differences emerged. The findings indicate that, for two of the three components of regional political culture-political efficacy and involvement-no significant differences between the states could be found. For political trust, however, respondents from the various states did show differences in attitude. This effect was accentuated when respondents were able to differentiate between trust in the federal government and trust in the state government. These findings raise methodological questions about the notion of regional political culture and about the broader issue of the interaction between individual attitudes, political institutions and the persistence of federalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-102
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Volume29
Issue numberSpecial Issue: Election '93
Publication statusPublished - 1994

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