Objective. In this article we investigate why traditionally conservative so
cial groups show less support for spending on drug rehabilitation programs
than for drug control spending in general. Methods. Using data from the 198
4 through 1998 General Social Surveys, we first estimate logistic regressio
ns of support for drug control spending across five sociopolitical cleavage
s. We then estimate effects of three types of sociopolitical attitudes on s
upport for drug spending within traditionally conservative groups. Results.
Resistance to rehabilitation spending among conservatives is related to th
eir opposition to the welfare state, punitive attitudes toward criminals, a
nd among whites, racial attitudes. Conclusions. Our findings suggest that c
itizens may withhold support for a social policy to the extent that it evok
es negative associations with other salient sociopolitical issues or attitu
des. We discuss the importance of these associations for understanding the
relationships among political debate, public opinion, and policy outcomes.