Immigrant Resentment and the Republican Vote: A Comparison of Voting Behavior in the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections
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Donald Trump’s rhetoric in the 2016 presidential election focused on an attack toward latinx immigrants. Much of the literature argues that racial resentment, authoritarianism, education, and class allowed Trump to obtain enough support from white voters to win the election. Some research discusses immigrant resentment, but it lacks necessary control variables and an understanding if immigrant resentment actually helped Trump. Therefore, an important question has yet to be answered: Did immigrant resentment help Trump win the election, or did it hurt him among white voters? Using the ANES survey and logistic regression, this research compares the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections. Specifically, I compare white Romney, the Republican candidate in the 2012 presidential election, and Trump voters to Obama and Hillary Clinton voters, respectively, in terms of immigrant resentment. I hypothesize that those with greater immigrant resentment are more likely to vote for Trump instead of Clinton, and this likelihood is stronger compared to the matchup between Romney and Obama. Furthermore, I explore whether Trump lost more votes, proportionally, instead of gaining compared to the 2012 election by way of immigrant resentment even when controlling for important factors such as racial resentment, sexism, and demographics. Although immigrant resentment was a much stronger predictor of voting behavior in the 2016 election compared to 2012, Trump lost white votes, proportionally, because of asymmetrical polarization as white American voters became more progressive toward immigrants relative to 2012.
Oliver, B. (2020). Immigrant Resentment and the Republican Vote: A Comparison of Voting Behavior in the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections.
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