Emotional Voting, Racial Animus and Economic Anxiety in the 2016 Presidential Election
Keywords:elections, american politics
AbstractIn the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, several competing theories were offered purporting to explain Trump’s appeal to American voters. These included arguments that Trump voters were more prone to hold authoritarian tendencies (Choma 2017); that Trump’s mostly “white working class” voters felt left behind in an increasingly globalized economy; or that Trump voters were attracted to the candidate’s racialized and sexist language (Schaffner et. al 2017). This paper utilizes data from AdSAM, an emotional response survey system, to measure the emotive responses of likely voters toward candidates in the 2016 election. The survey also measured emotional responses towards issues including abortion, immigration, the economy, and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The results suggest that the strongest predictors for voting for Trump were negative feelings towards the economy and negative responses to the BLM movement, and emphasizes emotional, rather than cognitive responses as explaining support for Trump.
Abramowitz, A. (1996). Bill and Al’s Excellent Adventure: Forecasting the 1996 Presidential Election. American Politics Quarterly, 24(4): 434-442.
Altemeyer, B. (1996). The authoritarian specter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Ansolabehere, S., Meredith, M. and Snowberg, E. (2014), Mecro-Economic Voting: Local Information and Micro-Perceptions of the Macro-Economy. Economics and Politics, 26: 380–410.
Casselman, B. (2016). Stop saying Trump’s Win Had Nothing to do with Economics. FiveThirtyEight. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/stop-saying-trumps-win-had-nothing-to-do-with-economics/
Choma, B. L., Hanoch, Y. (2016). Cognitive Ability and Authoritarianism: Understanding Support for Trump and Clinton. Personality and Individual Differences 106 (2017) 287–291.
Downs, A. (1957). An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy. Journal of Political Economy, 65(2), 135-150. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1827369
Farley, R., Steeh, C., Krysan, M., Jackson, T. & Reeves, K. (1994) Stereotypes and Segregation: Neighborhoods in the Detroit Area. American Journal of Sociology 100, no. 3 (Nov., 1994): 750-780.
Fingerhut, H. (2017). On abortion, persistent divides between-and within—the two parties. Pew Research Center. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/07/07/on-abortion-persistent-divides-between-and-within-the-two-parties-2/
Friedman, J. (2017). Trump voters and economic grievances (It’s the media, stupid). Niskanen Center. https://niskanencenter.org/blog/trump-voters-economic-grievances-media-stupid/
Fording, R., & Schram, S. (2017) The Cognitive and Emotional Sources of Trump Support: The Case of Low-Information Voters, New Political Science.
Galston, W.; Hendrickson,C. (2016). The educational rift in the 2016 education. Brookings Institution. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2016/11/18/educational-rift-in-2016-election/
Garry, J. (2014). Emotions and Voting in EU referendums. European Union Politics. Vol 15 (2) 235-254. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1465116513514780
Inglehart, R., & Norris, P. Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash (July 29, 2016). HKS Working Paper No. RWP16-026. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2818659
Inglehart, R. (1997). Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic and Political Change in 43 Societies. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
Jardina, A., Piston, S. (2016) How do Trump supporters see black people? Slate. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2016/11/the-majority-of-trump-supporters-surveyed-described-black-people-as-less-evolved.html
Kerr, J. (2016). Trump overwhelmingly leads rivals in support from less educated Americans. Associated Press. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/trump-overwhelmingly-leads-rivals-in-support-from-less-educated-americans
Kinder, D., & Kiewiet, D. (1981). Sociotropic Politics: The American Case. British Journal of Political Science, 11(2), 129-161.
Kolko, J. (2016) Trump was stronger where the economy was weaker. FiveThirtyEight. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-was-stronger-where-the-economy-is-weaker/
Lamont, Park, Ayala-Hurtado (2017). Trump’s electoral speeches and the appeal to the American white working class. British Journal of Sociology 68(S1) 153-180. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1468-4446.12315/epdf
Levitz, E. (2017). New 2016 Autopsies: it was Obama-Trump Voters, in the Rust Belt, with the Economic Anxiety. New York Magazine http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/05/it-was-obama-trump-voters-in-the-midwest-with-econ-anxiety.html
Luttig, M.D., Federico, C. M., Lavine, H.G. (2017) Supporters and Opponents of Donald Trump Respond Differently to Racial Cues: An Experimental Analysis. Research and Politics, in press.
MacWilliams, M. (2016). Who Decides When The Party Doesn’t? Authoritarian Voters and the Rise of Donald Trump. PS: Political Science & Politics, 49(4), 716-721.
Major, B., Blodorn, A., Blascovic, G. (2016). The threat of increasing diversity: why many white Americans support Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 1-10. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1368430216677304
Meharabian, A. (1996). Pleasure-arousal-dominance: A general framework for describing and measuring individual differences in Temperament. Current Psychology. 14(4), 261-292.
McElwee, S.; McDaniel, J. (2017). Economic anxiety didn’t make people vote Trump: racism did. The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/article/economic-anxiety-didnt-make-people-vote-trump-racism-did/
McGill, A. (2016). America’s educational divide put Trump in the White House. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/education-put-donald-trump-in-the-white-house/508703/
Monkovic, T. (2016) Why does education translate to less support for Donald Trump. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/02/upshot/why-does-education-translate-to-less-support-for-donald-trump.html
Morris, JD. (1995). Observations: SAM. Journal of Advertising Research, Nov-Dec, 1(1) 63-68.
Nadeau, R.; Lewis-Beck, M. (2001) National Economic Voting in U.S Presidential Elections. The Journal of Politics 63 ( 1), 159-181.
Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Osgood, C., Suci, G. & Tanenbaum, P. (1957). The Measurement of Meaning. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Pelinka, A. (2013). Right-Wing Populism: Concept and Typology. In R. Wodak, M. Khosravinik & B. Mral (Eds.). Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse (pp. 3–22). London: Bloomsbury Academic.
Riley, E Y. & Peterson,C. (2016). Economic Anxiety or Racial Predispositions? Explaining White Support for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election. National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2847791
Pratto, F., Sidanius, J., Stallworth, L., Malle, B. (1994). Social dominance orientation: A personality variable predicting social and political attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67, no. 4: 741-763
Rodrik, D. (2017) Populism and the economics of globalization. https://drodrik.scholar.harvard.edu/files/dani-rodrik/files/populism_and_the_economics_of_globalization.pdf
Schaffner, B. F., Macwilliams M., Nteta, T. (2017). Explaining White Polarization in the 2016 Vote for President: The Sobering Role of Racism and Sexism. Paper prepared for presentation at the Conference on The U.S. Elections of 2016: Domestic and International Aspects. January 8-9, 2017, IDC Herzliya Campus.
Sears, D.O. (1993). Symbolic politics: a socio-physiological theory. In S. Iyengar & W.J McGuire (Eds.), Exploration in Political Psychology 113-149. Durham, N.C, Duke UP.
Silver, N. (2016) Education not income predicted who would vote for Trump. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/education-not-income-predicted-who-would-vote-for-trump/
Taber, C., and Lodge, M. (2006). Motivated skepticism in the evaluation of political beliefs. A Journal of Politics and Society. Vol 24, Issue 2: published online 2012.
Valentino, Nicholas A. Fabian G. Neuner, and L. Matthew Vandenbroek. The Changing Norms of Racial Political Rhetoric and the End of Racial Priming. Working paper. URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310230276_The_Changing_Norms_of_Racial_ Political_Rhetoric_and_the_End_of_Racial_Priming
Watts, E. (2017) Politics, the Police, and Anti-Blackness. Howard Journal of Communications, 28:2, 207-211.
Authors who publish with American Review of Politics agree to the following terms:
The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
Attribution: other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
Non-Commercial: the materials may not be used for commercial purposes;
Share Alike: If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
with the understanding that the above condition can be waived with permission from the Author and that where the Work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a pre-publication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (see The Effect of Open Access). Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
The Author represents and warrants that:
the Work is the Author’s original work;
the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
the Work has not previously been published;
the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.