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The Differential Effects of Economic Conditions and Racial Attitudes in the Election of Donald Trump

  • Jon Green and Sean McElwee
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

Abstract

Debates over the extent to which racial attitudes and economic distress explain voting behavior in the 2016 election have tended to be limited in scope, focusing on the extent to which each factor explains white voters’ two-party vote choice. This limited scope obscures important ways in which these factors could have been related to voting behavior among other racial sub-groups of the electorate, as well as participation in the two-party contest in the first place. Using the vote-validated 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, merged with economic data at the ZIP code and county levels, we find that racial attitudes strongly explain two-party vote choice among white voters—in line with a growing body of literature. However, we also find that local economic distress was strongly associated with non-voting among people of color, complicating direct comparisons between racial and economic explanations of the 2016 election and cautioning against generalizations regarding causal emphasis.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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The authors thank Will Cubbison, Kathleen McGraw, William Minozzi, Michael Neblo, Jonathan Rothwell, Brian Schaffner, two discussants at the 2018 meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful advice and feedback at various points in the analysis, writing, and revision stages of drafting this paper.

A list of permanent links to Supplementary Materials provided by the authors precedes the References section.

*Dataverse link: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/IEMA1T

Footnotes

References

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The Differential Effects of Economic Conditions and Racial Attitudes in the Election of Donald Trump

  • Jon Green and Sean McElwee
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

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