Explaining African-American political trust: examining psychological involvement, policy satisfaction, and reference group effects.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Satisfaction (Political aspects)
Administrative agencies (Evaluation)
African Americans (Political aspects)
African Americans (Comparative analysis)
Trust (Psychology) (Political aspects)
Author: Mangum, Maruice
Pub Date: 03/22/2012
Publication: Name: International Social Science Review Publisher: Pi Gamma Mu Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Pi Gamma Mu ISSN: 0278-2308
Issue: Date: Spring-Summer, 2012 Source Volume: 87 Source Issue: 1-2
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 294895884
Full Text: Introduction

Compared with White Americans, African Americans exhibit lower levels of trust in government. However, there is a dearth of research that seeks to explain that group's level of political trust. Employing data taken from the 1996 National Black Election Study, this research examines three explanations to test how psychological involvement, policy satisfaction, and reference group influence political trust among African Americans. The results show support for each of the models as important factors in explaining African Americans' trust in government.

Political trust is defined in the literature as a summary of both negative and positive evaluations of the government in Washington, D.C. (1) It reflects the perception of how well the federal government is performing based upon expectations, which involves, to some degree, trust in public officials who serve in government, as well as both the system and process of government. One must be careful to understand the concept of political trust as a more narrow term, however, and not conflate it with other terms. Political trust is mainly concerned with expectations and their relationship to the outcomes of government's actions. Oftentimes, when speaking more specifically about trust in certain public officials, congressional or presidential approval ratings would be a more suitable measurement of that trust. If the focus is on the system or process of government, then system or process support would be a more appropriate measure of trust. Lastly, political trust does not refer to trust in political parties, for that would be subsumed by party identification.

Most research suggests that political trust is composed primarily of evaluations of public officials, political institutions, and satisfaction with public policies. (2) The conventional wisdom concerning political trust is that as conditions improve for the nation, trust in government increases. Conversely, as Arthur Miller, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Iowa, argues, low levels of trust indicate dissatisfaction with the political system. (3) Jack Citrin, a professor of political science at the University of California-Berkeley, adds that low levels of political trust are the result of poor evaluations the public assigns incumbents and their policies. (4)

Americans have become more distrusting of government since the 1970s. (5) African Americans trust government less than whites, which can best be explained by the history of racism and discrimination in the United States. The American South, the home of Jim Crow laws and numerous efforts to subvert the African-American vote, has been a bastion of racial hatred toward African Americans. (6) Moreover, racial segregation remains prevalent in the country, and many bemoan the educational, economic, social, and justice systems as being anti-African American. (7)

Extant scholarship on political trust confirms that African Americans have less of it than whites. (8) However, these studies offer limited theoretical justifications for African Americans' distrust of government beyond speculating, typically without empirical evidence, that it is rooted in their experiences with racial discrimination. While plausible, this explanation does not take into account other factors that may explain lower levels of political trust among African Americans. This study offers several tests of models in an effort to explain political trust among African Americans. In doing so, it attempts to fill a gap in the literature. Other works have addressed why African Americans do not trust government, but without systematic analyses. By and large, they ignore African Americans or conclude the opposite of their findings on political trust among White Americans. Research on African-Americans' political trust chiefly promotes the roles of descriptive representation (shared social characteristics) rather than actual living experience, and substantive representation (shared policy interests) instead of policy and governmental evaluations in affecting African-Americans' political trust. (9) Therefore, testing other explanations is warranted. Regardless of the fact that African Americans are no longer members of the largest racial minority group in the United States, they remain the most cohesive voting bloc in American politics. (10) Thus, learning what drives their level of political trust merits investigation.

Normatively, by studying explanations of political trust among African Americans, political science gains further insight into understanding trust among Americans who possess unique historical and political experiences. Trust in government is an important element for any democracy. (11) For democracy's sake, it behooves political scientists to disentangle attitudes that potentially obstruct some Americans' opportunity to participate in the democratic process, and, more pertinently, that prevent the political system from functioning properly. Political trust affects both obedience to law (12) and support for public policies. (13)

More fitting for the purpose of this study, James Avery, an associate professor of political science at Richard Stockton College, examines the relationship between political trust among African Americans and their participation in politics. He suggests that there are more meaningful and fundamental factors that shape political trust among African Americans. Political trust, he contends, has different effects on African-Americans' political participation than it does on whites. Consequently, African Americans participate in the political process due to different stimuli. (14) The same reasoning guides this study, which posits that political trust among African Americans should be shaped by factors that are based primarily on their historical experiences, racial consciousness, and social engagement in American society.

This study provides explanations of political trust among African Americans utilizing data taken from the 1996 National Black Election Study in an effort to develop three explanatory models. (15) First, the Psychological Involvement Model captures the effects of individual efficacy, group efficacy, political ideology, and party identification. One's perception of being deprived of political efficacy may undermine his/her trust in government. If one's reluctance to participate in the political process when he/she feels ineffective is logical, then it is equally plausible that this individual will distrust that process because he/ she believes that they are unable to effect change because they find government unresponsive to their concerns. In addition, group efficacy is examined given political scientist Maruice Mangum's finding that African Americans are more inclined to participate in politics due to group, rather than individual, efficacy. (16) Generally speaking, it is expected that liberal African Americans would trust the government in Washington, D.C. more than their conservative counterparts because of the former group's greater desire for governmental activism to remedy social ills. It is also anticipated that African-American Democrats should demonstrate greater trust in the federal government than African-American Republicans because the Democratic Party has used government more than the Republican Party to benefit African Americans in recent years. Here, an important distinction is made between the federal government and the state government. Southern state governments, under the guise of states' rights, have enacted laws to restrict the freedoms and liberties of racial minorities (i.e., Jim Crow laws). The federal government has protected the rights of those minorities against these unconstitutional policies adopted by state governments (e.g., the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965). Therefore, it is logical to presume that liberal African Americans and African-American Democrats will trust the federal government more than African Americans affiliated with the Republican Party.

Second, the Policy Satisfaction Model seeks to determine whether trust in government among African Americans might be influenced by their level of policy satisfaction. Given the importance of the issue of race to African Americans, (17) policy satisfaction regarding racial progress is tested. Rather than simply focus on generic perceptions of how well the government is doing to improve the economic well-being of the nation, this study explores matters of greater concern to African Americans, namely, government's performance on enacting and enforcing measures concerning race.

Third, the Reference Group Model is constructed to explain whether or not the lack of descriptive representation affects political trust among African Americans. Because government is composed of individuals and groups who are not African American, descriptive representation is lacking. To account for the affinity African Americans have demonstrated toward the racial makeup of individuals and groups in government, this study explores the level of affection African Americans show toward whites, Democrats, and Republicans. Additionally, the desire, or lack thereof, to integrate with others may influence African American trust in government. Again, the experiences of African Americans are hypothesized to have effects on their level of political trust. Inasmuch as descriptive representation matters, it might have a reverse effect too. Descriptive representation influences political trust positively. African Americans who are represented by fellow African Americans are likely to exhibit more political trust than those who are represented descriptively. However, given the lack of descriptive representation afforded most African Americans, it is not likely that descriptive representation can be the driving force that determines political trust. In its stead, a lack of descriptive representation is the norm and should be measured. Therefore, to account for a lack of descriptive representation, an acceptable proxy is used to account for affect toward whites.

Theoretical Perspectives

Psychological Involvement

For some segments of the population, helplessness may produce a negative orientation toward government because those who comprise those portions of the population lack the political influence necessary to bring about desired changes through conventional political means. (18) Lacking a voice in, or some control over, the decision-making process causes people to become skeptical about political outcomes. Citizens who believe that they lack a voice or some level of control in the political process are likely to distrust government; those who believe the opposite will likely trust government. Such feelings of powerlessness or the lack of political efficacy would lead to a distrust of government. Citizens will distrust government if it is perceived as unresponsive to their concerns and they believe that they are incapable of changing political circumstances. When shut out of the political system or decision-making process, people become suspicious of the decision-makers. African Americans have a history of being disenfranchised. They have experienced a number of setbacks in their efforts to acquire full rights of citizenship through their preference for representation by African Americans and policies that achieve economic, political, and social equality among whites and African Americans. Since feelings of political efficacy play a large part in African-American political behavior, (19) one can expect that this will have an impact on that group's level of political trust.

Political efficacy refers to an individual's effectiveness in changing government (internal efficacy) and government's responsiveness (external efficacy) toward such efforts. For African Americans, political efficacy might also take on a group component. Given their strong allegiance to one another, (20) political efficacy among African Americans is not conceptualized simply as an individual orientation, but also includes the perception of the African American population's influence on government and government's responsiveness to racial concerns. African Americans who are efficacious politically will trust government more than those who are not. Based on Mangum's finding of a group political efficacy dimension among African Americans, individual efficacy and group efficacy should be related positively to political trust. (21)

One can also expect political ideology to play a role in shaping African American trust in government. A preferred role for government is a reflection of trust. Conservatives prefer a more limited role for government and see its expansion as a threat to liberty. By contrast, liberals favor an expanded role for government, particularly to advance economic and social equality. (22) Liberals are less suspicious of government than conservatives philosophically. Using data from the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey, liberals have demonstrated greater trust toward the national government than conservatives. These findings lead to the expectation that African-American liberals will be more trusting of government than African-American conservatives. In other words, if, in general, liberals are more trusting of government than conservatives (perhaps because they are less suspicious of government), then among African Americans, liberals should be more trusting of government than conservatives. (23)

The federal government has not always been viewed as an enemy of African Americans or their interests. At certain times in American history, it has declared a war on poverty and discrimination, thereby politicizing the goals of economic and social equality. (24) Over most of the twentieth century, the federal government increased its role in ensuring the welfare of African Americans. Since the 1930s, the Democratic Party has provided African Americans economic incentives, causing many to abandon their prior allegiance to the Republican Party. (25) Beginning in the 1960s, the Democratic Party became the party of racial fairness, championing equality and defending the have-nots. It has also been more supportive of governmental intervention in promoting and funding social programs and protecting civil rights. (26) Meanwhile, the Republican Party became racially intolerant, opposing social programs and civil rights legislation, thus offering a less attractive political alternative for African Americans. (27) Since the Democratic Party has been more active than the Republican Party in promoting the welfare of African Americans, African-American Democrats should be more trusting of the federal government than African-American Republicans.

Policy Satisfaction

Elected officials and political institutions are trusted based on their ability to solve problems and advance important goals. (28) Several studies show that the degree to which citizens are satisfied with the policy outputs of government is linked to their level of political trust. (29) If they believe that government enacts policies that they favor, then they should be more likely to trust government than those citizens who believe that government is not pursuing policies they favor. Other studies suggest that government's ability to handle problems important to respondents in national surveys does increase their level of trust in government. (30) Citizens who believe that the policies produced by government are effective or consistent with their expectations trust government more than those who disagree with or dislike government's outputs. (31) Political scientists Arthur H. Miller and Stephen Borrelli find that the more apart on the issues respondents were from the national government, the less trusting they were of that government. (32) Likewise, Miller shows that Americans who were disapproving of the policies of both major parties were the least trusting of government. (33)

Political trust connotes policy satisfaction. If people perceive that government is operating effectively and in their favor, then they are more likely to trust it. For African Americans, dealing with discrimination is important policy. Consequently, government's ability or willingness to address this problem should impact African Americans' trust in government. The assumption here is that if African Americans perceive that progress has been made toward ending discrimination, then they will trust government. Conversely, if they sense that little has been accomplished toward that goal, then they will not trust government.

Usually, policy approval or comparisons of the policy positions of respondents with the policy positions of where respondents believe that elected officials are located would be used to measure policy satisfaction. However, it may not be particular issues that make citizens more or less trusting of government, but rather an assortment of issues or an overall impression of satisfaction with government outputs. For this analysis, in addition to the belief that there has been progress in reducing discrimination, the perception of how hard the political parties work on issues important to African Americans should influence political trust. If African Americans believe that one or both major political parties work hard on issues important to them, then their level of political trust will increase. On the flip side, if African Americans believe that neither party is working hard to address issues that concern them, then they will distrust government.

Reference Group

Reference-group theory is used to explain political trust among African Americans as an alternative to the political-reality model. The latter model posits that African Americans distrust government because political leaders tend to be white, which leads to better treatment for whites. This lack of descriptive representation reduces the ability of African Americans to influence political leaders. The focus of the political-reality model is descriptive representation. What does the lack of descriptive representation mean for political trust? Given the amount of descriptive representation for African Americans at the national level of government, the actual political reality is their lack of descriptive representation. If an African American does not belong to the same race as his/her elected official(s), what does he/she use as a cue? Like descriptive representation and the political-reality model, African Americans use a likeability heuristic. But unlike descriptive representation and the political-reality model, this study suggests that it is in reference to other groups in society that make up government. Government is composed of African Americans, White Americans, Democrats, and Republicans, to name a few. Therefore, accounting for affect toward these groups is important in determining African-American political trust.

Reference groups and group differences impact political attitudes. (34) If reference-group theory has any import, then attitudes that African Americans have toward other social groups should influence their level of political trust. If people like a social group and associate that group with government, then they should evaluate government more positively If they dislike the group associated with government, then they will evaluate government more negatively.

When African Americans use race as a cue or heuristic for determining their level of trust in government, they might first think about whether they share the same race as the incumbent or the race of most of the people in a given institution. Political scientists E Glenn Abney and John D. Hutcheson, Jr., state that conventional wisdom explains rioting by African Americans in the 1960s as the product of a lack of government positions held by African Americans, which bred political cynicism. (35) Fellow political scientist William T. Bianco reaffirms this claim when he posits that descriptive representation fosters political trust. (36) By contrast, a lack of descriptive representation produces political distrust.

This study argues that racial attitudes are related to political trust. Race is a factor in determining trust and comfort. The absence of African-American representation in government stirs mistrust in government. According to Jane Mansbridge, a professor of government at Harvard University, descriptive representation makes one feel a part of the polity, for there is easier communication with the representative and a belief that his/her interests are being addressed. (37) However, African Americans are not receiving descriptive representation. Whereas whites are overrepresented in all institutions and levels of government, African Americans are underrepresented at all levels of government and in all political institutions. If race is among one's first considerations when he/she thinks about trusting government, then African Americans must confront their lack of descriptive representation in government. They must come to grips with the fact that there are so many more whites than African Americans in government, and, thus, most will see only whites in office. If part of the decision calculus is to consider affect, then it would include feelings toward groups that serve in government aside from African Americans. Consequently, capturing the effects of group affect or identification with groups other than African Americans is imperative. For the purpose of this study, trust in government might also be informed by affect toward blacks, whites, Democrats, and Republicans. African Americans who have warm feelings toward fellow African Americans will distrust government. In other words, in the absence of descriptive representation, a shared perspective will lead to distrust in government. African Americans who have warm feelings toward whites, Democrats, and Republicans will trust government. The desire to separate from whites will impact African American trust in government inversely, but like affect toward whites, the desire to integrate with whites will influence trust in government in a positive direction.

Data and Methods

This investigation utilizes data from the 1996 National Black Election Study (NBES). (38) It is the most important and most recent data set available that covers a national sample of African Americans. While this survey was conducted over two decades ago, it remains instrumental for understanding African-American politics and it is still being used in current studies that examine the political behavior of African Americans. (39) The 1996 NBES is a phone survey focusing on the political attitudes and preferences of African Americans. It incorporates a unique set of questions and covers a large number of topics of particular concern to African Americans. (40) It uses random-digit dialing to select African Americans to participate in a survey conducted during the presidential election of 1996. Respondents were included in the survey if they were African American and eighteen-years-old by Election Day.

The 1996 NBES is an excellent source for analyzing African-American political trust for two important reasons. First, it asks respondents questions more suited to African Americans than does either the American National Election Study or the General Social Survey. (41) For instance, the 1996 NBES asks questions centering on group political efficacy, racial discrimination, and perceived efforts by the two major parties to provide African Americans with substantive representation. Second, it does not suffer from the same limitation of many other data sets, namely, a small African-American sample size. This data set has a large number of African-American respondents (N = 1,216). Therefore, the 1996 NBES is an important methodological improvement to offset the problem of having a small-N of African-American respondents, as is the case regarding both the American National Election Study and General Social Survey series, which makes estimation and analysis unreliable.

Dependent Variable

The dependent variable, Trust in Government, is the standard trust question found in all scholarship on political trust. The question operationalizing political trust is: "How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right-just about always, most of the time, or only some of the time?" The question allows for four choices. Given the limited number of response choices, Ordered Probit is the method used to test the hypotheses of this study. According to the data, 24 respondents (2%) declared that one can "never" trust government; 601 (49.4%) answered "some of the time"; 192 (15.8%) replied that government can be trusted "most of the time"; and only 31 (2.5%) trusted government "just about always." (42) Descriptions of each model are provided below. The Appendix describes all variables, their hypothesized direction, question wording, and coding stratagem.

Psychological Involvement

The Psychological Involvement Model captures the effects of political efficacy, political ideology, and party identification. It is made up of the two efficacy-factor dimensions as shown in Table 1: political ideology and party identification. Individual Efficacy is a factor dimension that measures three beliefs: (1) whether public officials care about people like the respondent; (2) whether people like the respondent have a say in what government does; and, (3) whether politics and government seem too complicated for people like the respondent. Group Efficacy is a factor dimension that measures three beliefs: (1) whether enough African Americans vote so that they can determine who is elected president; (2) whether African Americans can influence the outcomes of congressional elections; and, (3) whether minority groups, the poor, and women banded together can affect the operation of the country. Political Ideology and Party Identification are self-identified responses to the standard political ideology and party identification questions.

Policy Satisfaction

The Policy Satisfaction Model accounts for satisfaction in dealing with discrimination and policy responsiveness by the two major political parties. African Americans' level of satisfaction concerning efforts to eliminate discrimination in American society is captured by Racial Discrimination. The two variables that measure the major parties' efforts to tackle issues important to African Americans are Black Issues Democrat (how much the respondent believes that the Democratic Party works on issues that concern blacks), and Black Issues Republican (how much the respondent believes the Republican Party works on issues that concern blacks).

Reference Group

The Reference Group Model uses thermometer scales to measure affect toward reference groups: African Americans (Blacks Thermometer), White Americans (Whites Thermometer), Democrats (Democrats Thermometer), and Republicans (Republicans Thermometer). This model focuses on affect and likeability, particularly given the limited number of African-American elected officials. A feeling thermometer is a way of gauging how much the respondent likes or dislikes the object in question. It ranges on a scale from 0 to 100, indicating the degree of great dislike (0) to love (100). A score of 50 signifies neutrality on the affinity scale. The variable Racial Integration measures the effects of affect and likeability as well as opinion regarding the importance of integrating with whites.

Empirical Analysis

Table 2 reports the outcomes of the Ordered Probit analyses for the respective models. Displayed in each table are the independent variables' coefficients, indication of statistical significance, and standard errors in parentheses. The table also reports the sample size and Pseudo [R.sup.2]. In parentheses next to each independent variable is its hypothesized direction. Unreported in each model are the controls (demographic variables) so as to save space and avoid redundancy.

Psychological Involvement Model

The Ordered Probit findings of the Psychological Involvement Model are listed in Column 1 of Table 2. It is clear from these results that psychological involvement helps to explain political trust. The more efficacious African Americans were, the more they trusted government. Due to the coding scheme, Individual Efficacy was related negatively with trust in government. This variable was interpreted to mean that the more efficacious the individual African American, the more he/she trusted government. The same finding applies to the Group Efficacy variable: the more efficacious African Americans believed their race to be, the more trust they had in government. As expected, African-American Democrats were more trusting of government than African-American Republicans. The desire for government involvement in solving societal problems led to greater trust. Oddly, political ideology did not matter. It may be the case that the Party Identification variable incorporated some effects of the Political Ideology variable, rendering it insignificant, or it could simply be that whether one is a liberal or conservative does not affect political trust among African Americans.

Policy Satisfaction Model

The results of the Ordered Probit analysis for the Policy Satisfaction Model are listed in Column 2 of Table 2. They show that substantive representation is significant when explaining the political trust of African Americans. Clearly, the results suggest that efforts to end discrimination and to work on issues important to African Americans fostered trust in government. All three variables in this model were significant and positive. African Americans who believed that there has been much progress in eliminating discrimination trusted government. The more African Americans believed that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party worked hard on issues of concern to them, the more they trusted government.

Reference Group Model

The outcome of the Ordered Probit analysis for the Reference Group Model can be found in Column 3 of Table 2. As anticipated, affect or likeability toward specific groups influenced African Americans' trust in government. African Americans who liked other African Americans distrusted government. Since government includes several groups not classified as African American that occupy positions in government, the lack of descriptive representation is as important as its presence. Here one finds that African Americans who expressed warm feelings toward whites, Democrats, and Republicans trusted government more than African Americans who reported cool feelings toward these groups. Similarly, the more African Americans valued racial integration, the more they trusted government.

Summary and Conclusions

The purpose of this study is to address a major limitation in our understanding of trust in government, namely, the lack of attention in explaining trust in government among African Americans. Toward that end, this study developed and tested hypotheses better suited for African Americans beyond borrowing from and revising theories in the extant literature. Another criticism of political trust literature is that those who try to explain trust in government among African Americans have done so with too narrow a focus. This investigation broadened the lens of examination. Using Ordered Probit to analyze data from the 1996 National Black Election Study, this study accounts more fully for African Americans' trust in government.

The models constructed here yield several findings. First, the Psychological Involvement Model demonstrates that African Americans' trust in government varies with individual efficacy, group efficacy, political ideology, and party identification. Second, the Policy Satisfaction Model proves that African Americans trust government when they believe that discrimination is being dealt with and that the two major political parties are working hard on their behalf. Third, the Reference Group Model shows that African Americans' affect toward social groups and their reluctance or willingness to integrate influence their trust in government.

This study is important in that it allows for a comparison of findings obtained here on African Americans with those in the extant literature regarding White Americans. From this analysis, one gains several insights regarding political trust among the two races. First, psychological factors are of great import to both groups. Since political trust is a psychological orientation, it is understandable that other psychological orientations are related. Second, race is a very important dimension in determining political trust among African Americans, more so than among White Americans. Race matters in determining African Americans' trust in government because, whether it is efficacy, policy satisfaction, or affect toward other groups, race lies at the heart of their evaluation of government. Third, like White Americans, African-American social capital and interracial affect determine trust. Positive attitudes toward members of a different race and willingness to interact with whites make it increasingly possible for African Americans to trust government, even if it is composed mostly of non-African Americans. Fourth, while African Americans are not monolithic, they are nearly monolithic when it comes to political trust, as is the case in other areas of psychological involvement (e.g., political ideology and party identification). In short, there appears to be a psychological tie that binds African Americans on the issue of political trust.

This study provides some direction for future research. First, scholars should continue to investigate the impact of efficacy on trust. Second, additional research is needed to determine whether African Americans' policy satisfaction is based solely on race or on other policies. Third, future analyses should seek to ascertain whether negative interaction with other racial groups thwarts political trust among African Americans. Lastly, an investigation of how President Barack Obama's election may have influenced African-American trust in government is warranted. His presence in the White House is likely to have boosted political trust among African Americans. While there is no data yet to test this claim, it stands to reason that if more descriptive representation leads to greater political trust, then political trust among African Americans increased when Obama won the presidential election in 2008. Also, it is likely that their trust in government increased because a Democrat was elected president. However, as his presidency has unfolded, some African Americans may have come to trust government less because of President Obama's reluctance to have a national conversation on race, and his unwillingness or inability to develop policies that target African Americans as beneficiaries (i.e., employment programs). Still, African Americans support this president more than any other social group. Once data becomes available, an empirical analysis is called for to determine how the election of President Obama and his policies have affected African-American trust in government.

ENDNOTES

(1) Arthur H. Miller, "Political Issues and Trust in Government: 1964-1970," American Political Science Review 68, no. 3 (September 1974):951-72; Arthur H. Miller, Edie N. Goldenberg, and Lutz Erbring, "Type-Set Politics: Impact of Newspapers on Public Confidence," American Political Science Review 73, no. 1 (March 1979):67-84; See also, James Avery, "The Sources and Consequences of Political Mistrust among African Americans," American Politics Research 34, no. 5 (September 2006):655-82; James Avery, "Political Mistrust among African Americans," Political Research Quarterly 62, no. 1 (March 2009): 132-45; Thomas J. Rudolph and Jillian Evans, "Political Trust, Ideology, and Public Support for Government Spending," American Journal of Political Science 49, no. 3 (July 2005):660-71; Wendy M. Rahn and Thomas J. Rudolph, "Trust in Local Governments," in Understanding Public Opinion, eds. Barbara Norrander and Clyde Wilcox (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2002), 281-300.

(2) For overviews of research on political trust, see Avery, "The Sources and Consequences of Political Mistrust among African Americans," 655-82; Avery, "Political Mistrust among African Americans," 132-45.

(3) Miller, "Political Issues and Trust in Government: 1964-1970," 951-72.

(4) Jack Citrin, "Comment: The Political Relevance of Trust in Government," American Political Science Review 68, no. 3 (September 1974):973-88.

(5) Alfonso J. Damico, Margaret M. Conway, and Sandra Bowman Damico, "Patterns of Political Trust and Mistrust: Three Moments in the Lives of Democratic Citizens," Polity 32, no. 3 (Spring 2000):377-96; Robert Putnam, "Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America," PS: Political Science and Politics 28, no. 4 (December 1995):664-83; Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone." The Collapse and Revival of American Community (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000); Katherine Tate, Black Faces in the Mirror." African Americans and Their Representatives in the U.S. Congress (Princeton, N J: Princeton University Press, 2003).

(6) See Edward Carmines and James Stimson, Issue Evolution: Race and the Transformation of American Politics (Princeton, N J: Princeton University Press, 1989); Patricia Gurin, Shirley Hatchett, and James Jackson, Hope and Independence: Black' Response to Electoral and Party Politics (New York: Russell Sage, 1989); Tall Mendelberg, The Race Card: Campaign Strategy, Implicit Messages, and the Norm of Equality (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001).

(7) See Doug S. Massey and Nancy A. Denton, American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Urban Underclass (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); Hanes Walton, Jr., and Robert Smith, American Politics and the African-American Quest for Universal Freedom, 3rd ed. (New York: Pearson Longman, 2006).

(8) See Putnam, "Tuning In, Tuning Out," 664-83; Putnam, Bowling Alone; Wendy M. Rahn and John Transue, "Social Trust and Value: The Decline of Social Capital in American Youth, 1976-1995," Political Psychology 19, no. 3 (September 1998):545-65; Tate, Black Faces in the Mirror.

(9) See Cluadine Gay, "Spirals of Trust? The Effect of Descriptive Representation on the Relationship between Citizens and Their Government," American Journal of Political Science 46, no. 4 (October 2002):717-33; Jane Mansbridge, "Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women? A Contingent 'Yes,'" Journal of Politics 61, no. 3 (August 1999):628-57; Tate, Black Faces in the Mirror.

(10) Walton, Jr., and Smith, American Politics and the African-American Quest for Universal Freedom, 3rd ed., 172.

(11) See, for example, Robert Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).

(12) John T. Scholz and Mark Lubell, "Trust and Taxpaying: Testing the Heuristic Approach to Collective Action," American Journal of Political Science 42, no. 2 (April 1998):398-417.

(13) Marc J. Hetherington and Suzanne Globetti, "Political Trust and Racial Policy Preferences," American Journal of Political Science 46, no. 2 (April 2002):253-75; Rudolph and Evans, "Political Trust, Ideology, and Public Support for Government Spending," 660-71.

(14) Avery, "The Sources and Consequences of Political Mistrust among African Americans," 655-82; Avery, "Political Mistrust among African Americans," 132-45.

(15) Katherine Tate, National Black Election Study, 1996 [Computer file]. ICPSR version. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University [producer], 1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1998.

(16) Maruice Mangum, "Psychological Involvement and Black Voter Turnout," Political Research Quarterly 56, no. 1 (March 2003):41-48.

(17) See, for example, Michael C. Dawson, Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994); Katherine Tate, From Protest to Politics: The New Black Voters in American Elections (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993); Mangum, "Psychological Involvement and Black Voter Turnout," 41-48; Walton, Jr., and Smith, American Politics and the African-American Quest for Universal Freedom, 3rd ed.

(18) Miller, "Political Issues and Trust in Government: 1964-1970," 951-72.

(19) Mangum, "Psychological Involvement and Black Voter Turnout," 41-48.

(20) Dawson, Behind the Mule; Tare, From Protest to Politics.

(21) Mangum, "Psychological Involvement and Black Voter Turnout," 41-48.

(22) Rudolph and Evans, "Political Trust, Ideology, and Public Support for Government Spending," 660-71.

(23) Rahn and Rudolph, "Trust in Local Governments," in Understanding Public Opinion, eds. Norrander and Wilcox, 281-300. The Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey is a massive national survey of American civic engagement conducted by Harvard University in 2001.

(24) Richard D. Shingles, "Black Consciousness and Political Participation: The Missing Link," American Political Science Review 75, no. 1 (March 1981):76-91.

(25) Hanes Walton, Jr., Invisible Politics: Black Political Behavior (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1985), 31.

(26) Carmines and Stimson, Issue Evolution, 44.

(27) Ibid., 53.

(28) Citrin, "Comment: The Political Relevance of Trust in Government," 973-88.

(29) See Ibid.; Stephen C. Craig, "Change and the American Electorate," in Broken Con tract: Changing Relationships between Americans and Their Government, ed. Stephen C. Craig (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), 1-20; Marc J. Hetherington, "The Political Relevance of Political Trust," American Political Science Review 92, no. 4 (December 1998):791-808; Miller, Goldenberg, and Erbring, "Type-Set Politics," 67-84; Diane Owen and Jack Dennis, "Trust in Federal Government: The Phenomenon and Its Antecedents," in What is It about Government that Americans Dislike? eds. John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 209-26.

(30) See Craig, "Change and the American Electorate," in Broken Contract, ed. Craig, 1-20; Miller, Goldenberg, and Erbring, "Type-Set Politics," 67-84.

(31) Hetherington, "The Political Relevance of Political Trust," 791-808; Miller, "Political Issues and Trust in Government: 1964-1970," 951-72; Owen and Dennis, "Trust in Federal Government," in What is" It about Government that Americans Dislike? eds. Hibbing and Theiss-Morse, 209-26.

(32) Arthur H. Miller and Stephen Borrelli, "Confidence in Government during the 1980s," American Politics Quarterly 19, no. 2 (April 1991): 147-73.

(33) Miller, "Political Issues and Trust in Government: 1964-1970," 951-72.

(34) Richard R. Lau, "Individual and Contextual Influences on Group Identification," Social Psychology Quarterly 52, no. 3 (September 1989):220-31 ; Arthur H. Miller, Christopher Wlezien, and Anne Hildreth, "A Reference Group Theory of Partisan Coalitions," Journal of Politics 53, no. 4 (November 1991): 1134-49.

(35) F. Glenn Abney and John D. Hutcheson, Jr., "Race, Representation, and Trust: Changes in Attitudes after the Election of a Black Mayor," Public Opinion Quarterly 45, no. 1 (Spring 1981):91-101.

(36) See William T. Bianco, Trust. Representatives and Constituents (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1994).

(37) Mansbridge, "Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women? A Contingent 'Yes,'" 628-57.

(38) Katherine Tate, National Black Election Study, 1996 [Computer file]. ICPSR version. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University [producer], 1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1998.

(39) Avery, "The Sources and Consequences of Political Mistrust among African Americans," 655-82; Avery, "Political Mistrust among African Americans," 132-45; Maruice Mangum, "Explaining Political Trust among African Americans: Examining Demographic, Media, and Social Capital and Social Network Effects, Social Science Journal 48, no. 4 (2011):589-96; Maruice Mangum, "Party Competence Perceptions and the Party Identification of African Americans," Party Politics (forthcoming).

(40) Some of the questions in the 1996 NBES Study include: "How often did you find yourself feeling a sense of pride as a Black person in the accomplishments of Black people?"; "How often do you find yourself feeling about the way Black people are treated in society?"; and, "What happens to Black people in this country has a lot to do with what happens to me."

(41) The American National Elections Study (ANES) is a series of national public opinion surveys conducted by the University of Michigan. The ANES supplies data on public opinion and political participation, which enables scholars to better understand theoretical and empirical economic, political, and social phenomena. The General Social Survey (GSS) is a series of national public opinion surveys conducted by the University of Chicago. The GSS provides data on American trends in attitudes, attributes, and behaviors to compare American society with other societies around the world. It is among the most utilized sources of data in the social sciences.

(42) Katherine Tate, National Black Election Study, 1996 [Computer file]. ICPSR version. Columbus, OH; Ohio State University [producer], 1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1998.

MARUICE MANGUM is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas.
Appendix: Description of Variables Used in Analysis of Political
Trust

Dependent Variable

Trust in Government           "How much of the time do you think you
                              can trust the government in Washington
                              to do what is right just about always,
                              most of the time, or only some of the
                              time?" 1 = never; 2 = only some of the
                              time; 3 = most of the time; 4 = just
                              about always.

Independent Variables

Age (+)                       Age in years, ranging from 17-90.

South (+)                     1 = South; 0 = Non-South. Southern
                              states include: Alabama, Arkansas,
                              Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana,
                              Mississippi, North Carolina, South
                              Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia,
                              and West Virginia.

Education (-)                 1 = grade school (grades 1-8); 2 = some
                              high school, no degree (grades 9-12); 3
                              = high school degree; 4 = some college,
                              no degree; 5 = Associate's/2-year
                              degree, Bachelor's/4-year degree; 6 =
                              some graduate school, Master's degree,
                              doctorate/law degree.

Family Income (+)             Combined income of all members of your
                              family living with respondent for 1995
                              before taxes. Range: 1 (up to $10,000)
                              to 11 ($105,000 and above).

Social Class (+)              "People talk about social classes such
                              as the poor, the working class, the
                              middle class, the upper-middle class,
                              and the upper class. Which of these
                              classes would you say you belong to?" 1
                              = poor; 2 = working class; 3 = middle
                              class; 4 = upper-middle class; 5
                              = upper class.

Gender (-)                    1 = female; 0 = male.

Married (+)                   1 = married; 0 = not married.

Individual Efficacy (-)       "Public officials don't care much what
                              people like me think." 1 = disagree
                              strongly; 2 = disagree somewhat; 3 =
                              neither agree nor disagree; 4 = agree
                              somewhat; 5 = agree strongly. "People
                              like me don't have any say about what
                              the government does." 1 = disagree
                              strongly;  2 = disagree somewhat; 3 =
                              neither agree nor disagree;  4 = agree
                              somewhat; 5 = agree strongly.

                              "Sometimes politics and government seem
                              to be so complicated that a person like
                              me can't really understand  what's
                              going on." 1 = disagree strongly; 2 =
                              disagree somewhat; 3 = neither agree
                              nor disagree; 4 = agree somewhat; 5 =
                              agree strongly.

Group Efficacy (+)            "If enough Blacks vote, they can make a
                              difference in who gets elected
                              president." 1 = disagree strongly; 2 =
                              disagree somewhat; 3 = neither agree
                              nor disagree; 4 = agree somewhat; 5 =
                              agree strongly. "Black people can make
                              a difference in who gets elected to
                              Congress." 1 = disagree strongly; 2 =
                              disagree somewhat; 3 = neither agree
                              nor disagree; 4 = agree somewhat; 5 =
                              agree strongly. "If Blacks, other
                              minorities, the poor, and women pulled
                              together, they could decide how this
                              country is run." 1 = disagree strongly;
                              2 = disagree somewhat; 3 = neither
                              agree nor disagree; 4 = agree somewhat;
                              5 = agree strongly.

Political Ideology (+)        "Do you think of yourself as more like
                              a liberal or more like a conservative?"
                              1 = conservative; 2 = neither/refuses
                              to choose; 3 = liberal.

Party Identification (+)      "Generally speaking, do you usually
                              think of yourself as a Republican, a
                              Democrat, an Independent, or what?" 1 =
                              Republican; 2 = Independent; 3 =
                              Democrat.

Racial Discrimination (+)     "Some people say that over the last 20
                              years or so, there has been a lot of
                              progress in getting rid of racial
                              discrimination. Others say there hasn't
                              been much real change for most Blacks
                              over that time. Which do you agree with
                              most?" 1 = a lot of progress; 0 = not
                              much real change.

Black Issues Democrat (+)     "How hard do you think the Democratic
                              Party really works on issues Black
                              people care about?" 1 = not hard at
                              all; 2 = not too hard; 3 = fairly hard;
                              4 = very hard.

Black Issues Republican (+)   "How hard do you think the Republican
                              Party really works on issues Black
                              people care about?" 1 = not hard at
                              all; 2 = not too hard; 3 = fairly hard;
                              4 = very hard.

Blacks Thermometer (-)        "Now I'd like to get your feelings
                              toward some of your political leaders
                              and other people, events, and
                              organizations that have been in the
                              news. I'd like you to rate it using
                              something called the feeling
                              thermometer. You can choose any number
                              between 0 and 100. The higher the
                              number, the warmer or more favorable
                              you feel toward that person, event, or
                              organization; the lower the
                              number, the colder or more
                              negative you feel toward that person,
                              event, or organization." Coded 0 to
                              100.

Whites Thermometer (+)        Coded 0 to 100.

Democrats Thermometer (+)     Coded 0 to 100.

Republicans Thermometer (+)   Coded 0 to 100.

Racial Integration (+)        "The racial integration of schools is
                              so important that it justifies busing
                              children to schools outside of their
                              neighborhoods." 1 = strongly disagree;
                              2 = somewhat disagree; 3 = somewhat
                              agree; 4 = strongly agree.


Table 1: Factor Analysis of Political Efficacy Variables

                               Group      Individual
                               Efficacy   Efficacy

Congressional Power            .745
Presidential Power             .701
Power of the Disadvantaged     .571
Public Officials Don't Care               .718
No Say in Government                      .647
Government Too Complicated                .591

Table 2: Ordered Probit Analyses

Independent                   Psychological   Policy         Reference
Variables                     Involvement     Satisfaction   Group

Individual Efficacy (-)       -.1405 ***
                              (0.0487)

Group Efficacy (+)            .0879 **
                              (.0454)

Political Ideology (+)        -0.0516
                              (.0457)

Party Identification (+)      .1502 ***
                              (.0516)

Racial Discrimination (+)                     .3363 ***
                                              (.0963)

Black Issues Democrat (+)                     .2597 ***
                                              (687)

Black Issues Republican (+)                   .1448 ***
                                              (.0562)

Blacks Thermometer (-)                                       -.0048 **
                                                             (.0026)

Whites Thermometer (+)                                       .0049 **
                                                             (.0028)

Democrats Thermometer (+)                                    .0055 ***
                                                             (.0023)
Republicans Thermometer (+)                                  .0043 **
                                                             (.0019)

Racial Integration (+)                                       .0818 **
                                                             (.0433)

Cut 1                         -1.7342         -0.6305        -1.1314

Cut 2                         0.9339          2.1224         1.5061

Cut 3                         2.1074          3.3290         2.7566

N                             726             781            719

[chi square]                  24.19           56.49          22.96

Pseudo [R.sup.2]              0.02            0.05           0.02

*** = p < .01, one-tailed test.

** = p < .05, one-tailed test.

* = p < .10, one-tailed test.
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