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The Impact of Political Socialization on Women and Men State Legislators' Political Party Identification

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Using data from the lower houses of all fifty state legislatures, this study examines the intergenerational transfer process by which women and men state legislators acquire and develop their political party identification (PID). This research finds family educational and personal backgrounds of women and men state legislators to be quite similar. In their pre-adult political socialization stages, both women and men state legislators discussed politics mostly with their fathers and acquired the political party identification their parents agreed on, but when parents disagreed, both took their mother's PID. The educational backgrounds of parents did not consistently impact on legislators' PID or their deviating from parents ' PID. Parents holding public office did not impact on legislators' choice of political discussant. Legislators' occupation—private, competitive versus public and/or voluntary—impacted on switching PID, the private occupation type from Democratic parents to Republican, the public/voluntary type from Republican parents to Democratic.

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