Negative Black Stereotypes, Support for Excessive Use of Force by Police, and Voter Preference for Donald Trump During the 2016 Presidential Primary Election Cycle

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between support for excessive use of force by the police and support for Trump during the 2016 primary election cycle. Findings suggest that White Americans’ support for Trump among primary voters is partly explained by negative racial stereotypes of Black Americans and support for excessive use of force by the police in their dealings with members of the Black community.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Ryan Grimm 2016. Sidney Blumenthal: nativism are the core of Trump’s appeal. Without it, there is no Trump. Key Clinton confidante says Trump is the “dog who caught the firetruck.” HuffPost June 3.

  2. 2.

    See Jacobson, L. 2016. Donald Trump said “crime is rising. It’s not (and has not been for decades). PolitiFact. June 9; Goldman, H. 2016. Trump’s debate assertions on crime do not jibe with the stats. Bloomberg. September 27; and Ye He Lee, M. 2016. Trump’s false claim that the murder rate is the ‘highest it’s been in 45 years’. The Washington Post, November 3.

  3. 3.

    Willie Horton was an African American convicted felon, serving a sentence of life without parole in MA for murder. During Michael Dukakis’s tenure as governor, Horton received a weekend pass under a furlough program and while on leave, escaped to Maryland where he accosted a White couple; Horton stabbed and pistol whipped the man, raped his fiancé, and stole their car. He was eventually apprehended and returned to prison. As Kinder and Sanders note (pg. 233), Dukakis defense of the furlough program in the controversy that followed provided the Bush campaign the perfect anecdote to frame Dukakis, as weak on crime, when the latter ran as the Democratic nominee for president against Bush in 1988.

  4. 4.

    For complete description of the ANES 2016 Pilot Study, refer to the ICPSR web site, http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/studies/36390.

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Correspondence to Randall D. Swain.

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But you’re not Black … remember, we only kill Black people” (Lt. Gregg Abbott, Cobb County, Georgia Police Department, to a passenger in a car he pulled over on suspicion of DUI, July 2016)

Appendix

Appendix

Variable Measures

Dependent Variable

Intended vote if the election were between Hillary Clinton … Trump, who would you vote for (Trump = 1; Clinton = 0)

Independent Variables

Beliefs about police excessive
Use of force with Blacks - “How often do you think police officers use more force than is necessary under the circumstances when dealing with Black people?” (very often = 0, somewhat often = 1, sometimes = 2, rarely = 3, never = 4)
Beliefs about police stopping
Blacks more than necessary - “How often do you think police officers stop Black people on the street without a good reason?” (very often = 0, somewhat often = 1, sometimes = 2, rarely = 3, never = 4)
Stereotype I (Blacks violent) – “How well does the word “violent” describe Blacks?” (not at all well = 0, slightly well = 1, moderately well = 2, very well = 3, extremely well = 4)
Stereotype II (Blacks Lazy) - “How well does the word “lazy” describe Blacks?” (not at all well = 0, slightly well = 1, moderately well = 2, very well = 3, extremely well = 4)
Government services
Spending - “Some people think the government should provide fewer services even in areas such health and education in order to reduce spending. Suppose these people are at one end of a scale, at point 1. Other people feel it is important for the government to provide many more services even if it means an increase in spending. Suppose these people are at the other end, at point 7. And of course, some other people have opinions somewhere in between, at points 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Where would you place yourself on this scale, or have not you thought much about this? (recoded to range of 0 to 6 (increase spending a lot = 0 to decrease spending a lot = 6))
Support for government
Spending on health care - “Do you favor an increase, decrease, or no change in government spending to help people pay for health insurance when they cannot pay for it all themselves?” (increase a great deal = 0, increase moderately = 1, increase a little = 2, no change = 3, decrease a little = 4, decrease moderately = 5, decrease a great deal = 6)
Political party identity - “Generally speaking, do you usually think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an independent, or what? (Democrat = 0, Republican/Independent = 1)
Race - “Now think of your background in racial and ethnic terms. How would you describe your race and ethnicity using this 10 point system?” (other = 0, White = 1)

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Swain, R.D. Negative Black Stereotypes, Support for Excessive Use of Force by Police, and Voter Preference for Donald Trump During the 2016 Presidential Primary Election Cycle. J Afr Am St 22, 109–124 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-018-9398-4

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Keywords

  • Negative racial stereotypes
  • Excessive force by the police
  • Minimization of racialized policing
  • Donald Trump
  • 2016 presidential election
  • Voter behavior