Attitudes toward race, immigration underscored vote switching in 2016 election

phys.org | 2/25/2019 | Staff
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Nearly three years later, it's rare to read a postmortem of the 2016 presidential election that doesn't include at least a passing mention of one of the electorate's more elusive unicorns: the Obama-to-Trump voter.

It's estimated that around 9% of voters who supported Barack Obama in 2012 crossed party lines to endorse Donald Trump in 2016—but why? According to a team of researchers that included Loren Collingwood, an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, the reasons behind so-called "vote switching" might be more complicated than originally expected.

UCLA - Tyler - Reny - Princeton - University

Along with UCLA's Tyler Reny and Princeton University's Ali Valenzuela, Collingwood examined a set of untested hypotheses proposed as explanations for Trump's success in recruiting previous supporters of Obama, in particular.

The researchers first focused their analysis on whether a sizable number of white voters had switched from Obama to Trump in 2016, and if those same voters mainly identified as working class. They also evaluated whether concerns related to race and immigration or economic anxiety were more likely to be associated with vote switching in 2016.

Voters - Number - Class - Amount - Votes

They found that among white voters, a nontrivial number of those who identified as working class, as well as a nontrivial amount of those who didn't, switched their votes in 2016. Moreover, among both classes of white voters, switching was more likely to be associated with attitudes toward race and immigration than economic factors. Their findings were published in the journal Public Opinion Quarterly.

"This paper is the first to thoroughly examine the correlates of vote switching in the 2016 election," Collingwood's team wrote. "Our findings suggest that the United States may be in the midst of further electoral realignment as partisan voting continues to polarize around issues of race and immigration."

Researchers - Decade - Handful - Latino - Population

The researchers suggested that over the past decade, a handful of elements—including rapid Latino population...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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