Research design

Data source and sampling

The data in this article come from a national sample survey on "Social Development and Social Construction” conducted by the Shanghai Social Science Research Center of Shanghai University from August 2012 to March 2013. The survey covered the six provinces and cities of Henan, Jilin, Shanghai, Guangdong, Yunnan, and Gansu. The total sample size is 5,745.

Measurement and operationalization of concepts

Dependent variable: Political attitude

Conservatism and liberalism are frequently used analytical frameworks when analyzing political attitudes. Conservatism and political liberalism are opposite in many respects, and the greatest difference between the two is reflected in two aspects: attitudes towards social change on the one hand, and attitudes towards the state and authority and towards social justice and social equity on the other (Li, 2011). This article follows the analytical framework of conservatism and liberalism and uses a factor analysis approach to select the corresponding indicators to measure socio-political attitudes. The measurement questions and options selected in this article are mainly as follows: (1) Please rate the severity of the following local problems: environmental pollution, food and medication safety, and corruption. For each of the above, “very serious” is assigned 1 point, "relatively serious” is assigned 2 points, "average” is assigned 3 points, "not too serious” is assigned 4 points and "not serious at all” is assigned 5 points. (2) How much trust do you have in the following institutions, i.e., central government, military, judiciary, and local government? For each of the above, “completely distrust” is assigned 1 point, “not trust very much” is assigned 2 points, “average” is assigned 3 points, “relatively trust” is assigned 4 points, and "completely trust” is assigned 5 points. (3) What do you think of the following statements, i.e., “When the country is prosperous, family life will be better” and "As long as the government does better and practical things for the people, it will be recognized by the people”? For each of the above, “strongly disagree” was assigned 1 point, “disagree” 2 points, "not sure” 3 points, "agree” 4 points and "strongly agree” 5 points. (4) Do you consider yourself to belong to a vulnerable group? For this question, “not at all vulnerable” is assigned 1 point, "not very vulnerable” 2 points, “average” 3 points, “relatively vulnerable” 4 points, and “very vulnerable” 5 points. (5) Do you think you can express your personal opinions openly and autonomously? For this question, “completely unable to express oneself autonomously” is assigned a value of 1 point, "capable of expressing oneself autonomously” 2 points, “average” 3 points, "unable to express oneself autonomously” 4 points, and “completely unable to express oneself autonomously” 5 points. (6) To what extent do you agree with the following statements about democratic rights, i.e., "Owner committees and village committees can effectively defend owners' interests”, “Trade unions are important to protect workers' interests”, "Leaders listen to the public before making decisions”? For each of the above, “strongly disagree” is assigned 1 point, "disagree” 2 points, "neutral” 3 points, “agree” 4 points and “strongly agree” 5 points.

This article provides a factor analysis of the above issues. First, a KMO of

0.7618 was obtained by the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) test, which indicates that the above questions are suitable for factor analysis. Second, through principal component analysis in factor analysis, five common factors with eigenvalues greater than 1 were identified, which together explained 65.80% of the variance. The first coimnon factor identified in the analysis showed a high load in terms of trust in the central govermnent, the army, the judiciary and local governments, with a degree of explanation in excess of 70%; for this reason, it is named "government trust”. The second identified common factor showed a higher load on environmental pollution, food and medication safety issues, and corruption, all of which had a degree of explanation exceeding 70%, and was therefore named “social security perception”. The third identified common factor showed a higher load on the democratic rights viewpoints, with a degree of explanation above 70%, and was therefore named "rights awareness”. The fourth coimnon factor showed a high load in the two statements of “Only when the country is prosperous will family life be good” and “As long as the government does more good and practical things for the people, it will be recognized by the people”, with a degree of explanation above 75%, for which it was named "recognition of authority”. The fifth common factor showed a high load in the questions "Do you consider yourself to be a vulnerable group?” and "Do you feel able to express your personal opinions openly and autonomously?”, with a degree of explanation higher than 65%, for which it was named "inequality awareness”. Correspondingly, these five extracted coimnon factors are the indicators used in this article to measure the political attitudes of the new social class.

 
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