Black Republican Support in the Trump Era: A Social Psychological Account
Davis, Gregory K.
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CitationDavis, Gregory K. 2020. Black Republican Support in the Trump Era: A Social Psychological Account. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractFor the past 60 years, less than 15% of the Black popular vote has gone to a Republican Presidential candidate. This trend started at the end of the Civil Rights Era and has been consistent for Republican candidates across the spectrum. In this Dissertation, I explore the social psychological variables that may explain this persistent voting behavior. Principally, I hypothesize that differences in racial identity – a multidimensional conception of how being Black relates to one’s self image – and Social Dominance Orientation – an individual’s preference for a group-based social hierarchy - are key to understanding which Black Americans support the Republican Party.
Across three studies, I support my central hypotheses. In Study 1, I use panel survey data to show that racial identity significantly predicts support for Republicans in Congress as well as for President Donald Trump. In Study 2, I use random-assignment to assign participants to be low or high in racial identity. Therein, the manipulation condition directly predicts support for the GOP. In Study 3, I have participants focus on specific chapters of history between Black people and the Republican Party. Those who read about the “Southern Strategy” of anti-Black actions from Republicans were much less likely to support the Party than those who read about the founding of the GOP, which was more pro-Black. In all three studies, SDO partially mediates the relationship between racial identity and support for the Republicans. Implications and next steps for this research follow.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365784
- FAS Theses and Dissertations