In this article, we present data showing that national legislators are more tolerant than the public in Britain, Israel, New Zealand and the United States. Two explanations for this phenomenon are presented and assessed. The first is the selective recruitment of Members of Parliament, Knesset and Congress from among those in the electorate whose demographic, ideological and personality characteristics predispose them to be tolerant. Although this process does operate in all four countries, it is insufficient to explain all of the differences in tolerance between elites and the public in at least three countries. The second explanation relies on a process of explicitly political socialization, leading to differences in tolerance between elites and their public that transcend individual-level, personal characteristics. Relying on our analysis of political tolerance among legislators in the four countries, we suggest how this process of political socialization may be operating.