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The Fate of Obamacare: Racial Resentment, Ethnocentrism and Attitudes about Healthcare Reform

Abstract

Health care has been a contentious issue in American politics for decades, and scholars are beginning to understand the reasons behind public support for, and opposition to, healthcare reform. Using national survey data, we measure the impact of various racial attitudes, including Racial Resentment and Ethnocentrism, on white support for healthcare reform. We measure participants’ attitudes across a range of important dimensions of healthcare reform and examine a randomized experiment with a control group that frames legislation as “recent” healthcare reform and a treatment condition that frames legislation as “President Obama’s” healthcare reform. The findings demonstrate that racial attitudes and Ethnocentrism continue to play a role in both support and opposition to healthcare reform.

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Notes

  1. Knowles et al. (2010) use the same question and index. Unfortunately, they do not report descriptive statistics but do report a similar alpha of .91.

  2. In addition, we estimated an exploratory factor analysis in order to see whether the seven specific items fell into more than one dimension. The results indicated that the items fall into a single dimension of support and opposition to healthcare reform. The first dimension explained over 70 % of the variation and subsequent dimensions explained ten percent or less. The eigenvalue of the first dimension was approximately 5.6, while the eigenvalues of remaining dimensions were all less than one. As shown in the bivariate correlations in Table 1, the items are all highly correlated and the index has an alpha level of .94.

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Correspondence to Angie Maxwell.

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Maxwell, A., Shields, T. The Fate of Obamacare: Racial Resentment, Ethnocentrism and Attitudes about Healthcare Reform. Race Soc Probl 6, 293–304 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-014-9130-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12552-014-9130-5

Keywords

  • Healthcare reform
  • Racial Resentment
  • Ethnocentrism