There are a number of factors that influence a person's political orientation. I would argue that in the day-to-day horse race coverage of political campaigns, we lose sight of the importance of cultural factors and how they shape people's ideological orientation; regardless and sometimes even in contrary to policy preferences. As a specific example of this, I would like to point to this Berkes and Harris piece published by Slate.com.
The article itself is about a regulatory loophole in that the EPA has given to cement kilns that run on hazardous waste. The basics are these plants are legally allowed “to emit greater amounts of some toxic chemicals into the air than the hazardous-waste incinerators specially designed to burn the very same chemicals—including industrial solvents, aluminum-plant waste, and other toxic leftovers from the production of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and oil.” The reasoning for this allowance is unclear in the article. The EPA spokesperson quoted in the article simply states that the regulations are “set with a margin of public health and safety.”
One such plant: Ash Grove Cement Co, is located in deep red Chanute, Kansas, is causing concern among some locals. One of these locals, Jeff Galemore and his five middle-aged siblings decided take action on their concerns and organize a “Chanute Environmental Rights Group.”
The Galemores describe themselves as conservative Republicans and they align with candidates and causes not considered sympathetic to tough environmental regulation. Jeff Galemore, who works with his dad in the family oil business, recently posted a sign on his front lawn announcing a meeting of a local Tea Party group. His sister, Selene Hummer, 51, owns a home-decorating store and proudly displays a “Sarah Palin 2012” bumper sticker on the rear window of her pickup.