Racism, sexism, and support for Trump

I don’t know how I missed this Monkey Cage post from back this spring on how racial prejudice, but not authoritarianism explains support for Trump versus Clinton.  And, of course, not economic anxiety.  Only suckers in the media fall for that one.  Anyway, from Adam Enders and Steven Smallpage:

Being strongly identified with one party or ideology is tightly connected with support for one candidate or the other. Stronger Republicans and more extreme conservatives are more likely to support Trump and less likely to support Clinton. Unlike previous work that looked at how Trump supporters greatly differed from supporters of his fellow Republicans, authoritarianism doesn’t seem to predict much of the difference in support for Trump and Clinton. Trump supporters were shown to be more authoritarian than at least Marco Rubio and John Kasich supporters. But strong authoritarians only slightly favor Trump over Clinton.

That’s true for populism as well: Trump supporters are only slightly more populist than Clinton supporters. All these relationships and non-relationships hold in a multivariate setting controlling for the effects of other variables.

On the other hand, levels of racial resentment are just as strongly correlated with supporting one candidate or the other as identifying with one party or ideology over another. High levels of racial resentment are correlated with supporting Trump; low levels of racial resentment are associated with supporting Clinton. [emphases mine]

The Economist also took a look at this using their YouGov survey data:

However, one theory of Trump remains standing. Along with the questions on authoritarianism, we also requested YouGov to ask a battery of questions aimed at measuring racial resentment. Different from outright racism, this is measured by support for the idea that blacks are undeserving and clamorous for special assistance. Strongly disagreeing with the claim that “over the past few years blacks have gotten less than they deserve”, for example, reflects a high degree of racial resentment.

Racial resentment was tightly linked to Mr Trump’s supporters. These results held true when we controlled for region, race and religion, among other factors: 59% of Trump supporters in the Republican primary scored in the top quartile on racial resentment, compared with 46% of Republicans who backed other candidates and with 29% of voters overall. Those who thought that more should be done to fight terrorism were also much more likely to support him. In the Gallup study, whites who lived in racially isolated areas had a higher opinion of Mr Trump as well.

These findings cast doubt on the alarming notion that Mr Trump is propelled by a latent yearning for a strongman. Instead, they bolster the view that the candidate’s recent speeches painting a dystopian vision of black America racked by crime and unemployment were aimed not at black voters themselves, but rather at the kind of whites who tell pollsters that blacks are lazy and overindulged.

Yep.  Oh, and let’s not forget the sexism.  This is the first time I’ve seen good research on that.  And it’s important to note the key data pre-dates the Access Hollywood tapes.  To the Monkey Cage again (Carly Wayne, Nicholas Valentino and Marzia Oceno):

In June 2016, we conducted a nationally representative survey of 700 U.S. citizens. They were asked whether they agreed with statements such as “Most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist” and “Many women are actually seeking special favors, such as hiring policies that favor them over men, under the guise of asking for equality.” An index based on these statements is widely used in social science research on sexism and gender attitudes.

We found that sexism was strongly and significantly correlated with support for Trump, even after accounting for party identification, ideology, authoritarianism and ethnocentrism. In fact, the impact of sexism was equivalent to the impact of ethnocentrism and much larger than the impact of authoritarianism. Again, this was in June — well before the “Access Hollywood” tape was released and several women came forward to accuse Trump of unwanted touching or kissing.

Short version: you might as well print the hat and t-shirt, Racists and Sexists for Trump.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Racism, sexism, and support for Trump

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