The possible consequences of self-interest on American public opinion were examined in the context of the United States military involvement in Vietnam Civilians' personal connections to the war, in terms of their friends' and relatives' military service, did make them pay more attention to the war, but such connections seemed to have only weak effects on the salience of the war as a political issue. Similarly, there was no evidence that the self-interested had distinctively self-serving policy attitudes toward the war. Rather, the more important determinants of attitudes toward the war were attitudes toward various political symbols associated with the war. Finally, self-interest made very little difference in enhancing the consistency of partisan attitudes involved in the 1968 presidential decision.
Copyright (C) 1978, American Association for Public Opinion Research
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