Race politics research and the American presidency: thinking about white attitudes, identities and vote choice in the Trump era and beyond
journal contributionposted on 2021-04-01, 15:40 authored by Beyza Buyuker, Amanda Jadidi D'Urso, Alexandra Filindra, Noah J Kaplan
Abstract Heeding the call of the special issue, we look at the past decade's advances in public opinion studies of our understanding of the relationship between white racial identities, attitudes, and presidential voting preferences. Following a short review of developments in the literature during the Obama years, we critically evaluated four theories explaining whites' support for Trump: racial resentment, xenophobia, sexism, and white identity. Using data from three ANES studies, we test the relative explanatory power of all four approaches in predicting a vote for Trump during the 2016 Republican primary, the 2016 election, and intent to vote for him in 2020. The results suggest that xenophobia had the most consistent effect across all models, followed by racial resentment and sexism. White identity appears to have influenced voting for Trump in the primary and it could also have an impact in the 2020 election, but its effect in the 2016 general election does not appear to have been consistent with theoretical expectations. Finally, we use these results to think critically about the state of the field and propose new questions and challenges for research.