Psychological research increasingly suggests that ideologies reflect motivational processes, as opposed to the view that political convictions always reflect independent and unbiased thinking. Research in 2008 proposed that ideologies may function as prepackaged units of interpretation that spread because of basic human motives to understand the world, avoid existential threat, and maintain valued interpersonal relationships. The authors conclude that such motives may lead disproportionately to the adoption of system-justifying worldviews.
Psychologists have generally found that personality traits, individual difference variables, needs, and ideological beliefs seem to have a common thread. For instance, a meta-analysis by Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, and Sulloway in 2003  analyzed 88 studies, from 12 countries, with over 22,000 subjects, and found that death anxiety, intolerance of ambiguity, lack of openness to experience, uncertainty avoidance, need forcognitive closure, need for personal structure, and threat of loss of position or self-esteem all contribute to the degree of one's overall political conservatism. The researchers suggest that these results show that political conservatives stress resistance to change and are motivated by needs that are aimed at reducing threat and uncertainty.
According to research by Robert Altemeyer, individuals that are politically conservative tend to rank high on Right-Wing Authoritarianism, as measured by Altemeyer's RWA scale.  Those that are identified as high RWAs, in addition to having a tendency to be conservative, are more punitive toward criminals, and tend to hold more orthodox religious views.
Scores on the RWA scale also correlate highly with measures of ethnocentrism and hostility toward homosexuals. It is important to note that high RWAs tend to show more prejudiced attitudes when their answers on the questionnaires are anonymous. Recent research by Cunningham, Nezlek, and Banaji  has found support for the idea that prejudice find a home in people with rigid ideologies, as was predicted by Altemeyer as well as Theodor Adorno. Cunningham and his colleagues found that people who are high in explicit prejudice are also high in implicit prejudice, and that people who demonstrate a rigid, right-wing ideology tend to be prejudiced toward many disadvantaged groups that have little in common.
Psychologist Felicia Pratto and her colleagues have found evidence to support the idea that a high Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) is strongly correlated with conservative political views, and opposition to programs and policies that aim to promote equality (such as affirmative action, laws advocating equal rights for homosexuals, women in combat, etc). According to psychologists, an SDO is an attitude toward intergroup relationships which says that some groups are subordinated and of lesser status than others. High-SDO persons seek to maintain this structure by promoting group inequality and policies that help maintain the dominance of one group over another. Low-SDO persons seek to reduce group inequality and eliminate the hierarchical structure of society's groups.
Pratto and her colleagues also found that high SDO scores were also highly correlated with measures of sexism and anti-Black prejudice. There has been some debate within the psychology community on what the relation is between SDO and racism. One explanation suggests that opposition to programs that promote equality is based not on racism or sexism but on a "principled conservatism."  This perspective suggests that opposition to such programs is based not on racism but on a "concern for equity, color-blindness, and genuine conservative values."
Furthermore, some principled-conservatism theorists have suggested that racism and conservatism are independent, and only weakly correlated among the highly educated, who truly understand the concepts of conservative values and attitudes. In an effort to examine the relationship between education, SDO, and racism, Sidanius and his colleagues asked approximately 4,600 Euro-Americans to complete a survey in which they were asked about their political and social attitudes, and their social dominance orientation assessed. Results indicated partial support for the principled-conservatism position. However, the data suggest several problems for the principled-conservatism position. Contrary to what these theorists would predict, correlations among SDO, political conservatism, and racism were strongest among the most well educated, and weakest among the least well educated, according to Sidanius and his colleagues, because conservatives tend to be more invested in the hierarchical structure of society and in maintaining the inequality of the present status quo in society.
Political positions of Sarah Palin
Palin has described the Republican Party platform as "the right agenda for America," because of its "respect for equality and respect for life and an acknowledgment that it is individual Americans and American families who can make better decisions for ourselves than government can ever make for us," adding that "individual freedom and independence is extremely important to me and that's why I'm a Republican."
Palin supports the Right to keep and bear arms and is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA)
Palin is a social conservative. A lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Palin believes theright to bear arms includes handgun possession, and has advocated gun safety education for youth.She also supports capital punishment. Palin supports allowing the discussion of creationism in public schools, but says it does not have to be part of the curriculum. Palin opposes same-sex marriage and supported a non-binding referendum for an Alaskan constitutional amendment to deny state health benefits to same-sex couples. Palin has called herself "as pro-life as any candidate can be," and she is supportive of "abstinence-only" sex education, although in 2006 said she supported contraception; she is opposed to abortion (including when the pregnancy is caused by rape or incest), but supports it in cases where the mother's life would be endangered. Palin has promoted oil and natural gas resource exploitation in Alaska, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and initiated a lawsuit over the federal listing of the polar bear and Cook Inlet beluga whale as an endangered species.
Regarding foreign policy, Palin generally supports the Bush doctrine of preemptive military action in the face of an imminent threat, would not "second guess" a military strike by Israel against nuclear weapons facilities in Iran, supports US military operations in Pakistan without Pakistani approval, and supports NATO membership for Ukraine andGeorgia. Palin leaves open option of war with Russia in the event of Russian invasion of a NATO member.