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Preview: Public Opinion Quarterly - current issue

Public Opinion Quarterly Current Issue

Published: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 12:55:25 GMT


The Racial Double StandardAttributing Racial Motivations in Voting Behavior

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 GMT

In the wake of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, political observers were quick to assert that Barack Obama won the African American vote because he was Black, and more generally, that African Americans were motivated by race above all other considerations. As this racial reductionist stereotype has the potential to trivialize African Americans’ voting behavior and diminish the significance of the election of Barack Obama, this research examined how much support exists for the stereotype. We also examined whether a racial double standard motivates the application of this stereotype, and if so, the degree to which it is grounded in a broader antipathy toward Blacks. Several experiments embedded in two large national public opinion surveys show that there is indeed a racial double standard in the application of the racial reductionist stereotype; moreover, the attribution is connected to racial resentment.

The Mechanics of Immigration Polls

Tue, 06 Mar 2018 00:00:00 GMT

This poll review examines how surveys assess the American public’s views on immigration. It reviews four aspects of the current state of polling in this domain: when surveys are asking about immigration, what surveys are asking about immigration, who is being surveyed, and how the surveys are being conducted. The timing and content of surveys vary with policy debates and events like election campaigns, and there has been an increasing frequency and diversity of items over time. Along with this change, the samples of respondents themselves are changing as surveys have increasingly turned to the challenge of drawing representative samples of immigrants, Latinos, and Asian Americans. The review concludes with recommendations for continued improvements and future possibilities in this area.

Collective Narcissism and the 2016 US Presidential Vote

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Explaining support for Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy has become a key social-science challenge. An emerging literature highlights several important individual-level precursors of Trump support, including racial attitudes, sexism, and authoritarianism. In this report, we provide evidence for the role of a novel psychological factor: collective narcissism, an inflated, unrealistic view of the national ingroup’s greatness contingent on external recognition. Using data from a recent national survey, we demonstrate that collective narcissism is a powerful predictor of 2016 presidential votes and evaluations of Trump, even after controlling for other variables known to predict candidate preferences in general and Trump support in particular.

Misinformation or Expressive Responding?What an Inauguration Crowd Can Tell Us about the source of Political Misinformation in Surveys

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

The public’s party-driven misinformation and misperceptions about politics has drawn a great deal of attention from scholars over the past decade. While much of this research assumes that the misinformation documented by survey researchers is an accurate reflection of what individuals truly believe, other scholars have suggested that individuals intentionally and knowingly provide misinformation to survey researchers as a way of showing support for their political side. To date, it has been difficult to adjudicate between these two contrasting explanations for misperceptions. However, in this note, we provide such a test. We take advantage of a controversy regarding the relative sizes of crowds at the presidential inaugurations of Donald Trump in 2017 and Barack Obama in 2009 to ask a question where the answer is so clear and obvious to the respondents that nobody providing an honest response should answer incorrectly. Yet, at the same time, the question taps into a salient political controversy that provides incentives for Trump supporters to engage in expressive responding. We find clear evidence of expressive responding; moreover, this behavior is especially prevalent among partisans with higher levels of political interest. Our findings provide support for the notion that at least some of the misinformation reported in surveys is the result of partisan cheerleading rather than genuinely held misperceptions.

An Evaluation of the 2016 Election Polls in the United States

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

The 2016 presidential election was a jarring event for polling in the United States. Preelection polls fueled high-profile predictions that Hillary Clinton’s likelihood of winning the presidency was about 90 percent, with estimates ranging from 71 to over 99 percent. When Donald Trump was declared the winner of the presidency, there was a widespread perception that the polls failed. But did the polls fail? And if so, why? Those are among the central questions addressed by an American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) ad hoc committee. This paper presents the committee’s analysis of the performance of preelection polls in 2016, how that performance compares to polling in prior elections, and the extent to which performance varied by poll design. In addition, the committee examined several theories as to why many polls, particularly in the Upper Midwest, underestimated support for Trump. The explanations for which the most evidence exists are a late swing in vote preference toward Trump and a pervasive failure to adjust for overrepresentation of college graduates (who favored Clinton). In addition, there is clear evidence that voter turnout changed from 2012 to 2016 in ways that favored Trump, though there is only mixed evidence that misspecified likely voter models were a major cause of the systematic polling error. Finally, there is little evidence that socially desirable (Shy Trump) responding was an important contributor to poll error.

Separating Science Knowledge from Religious BeliefTwo Approaches for Reducing the Effect of Identity on Survey Responses

Sat, 03 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

All survey items reflect some conceptual framework that might or might not be accepted by subgroups with certain personal identities. For example, respondents with certain religious identities may reject the scientific framework of questions about the development of life and origins of the universe since there are competing truth claims between religion and science on these topics. Since the late 1970s, the National Science Foundation has sponsored a series of surveys to gauge public attitudes toward and understanding of science and technology. Items that simultaneously measure knowledge and acceptance of two concepts—evolution and the “big bang”—appear to raise measurement problems for a specific subgroup that rejects the premise of the items. This paper focuses on alternative versions of the survey questions that attempt to remove the effect of religious belief on answers to these items. We investigate two approaches for removing this confounding of knowledge and acceptance. One approach is to ask what scientists think rather than what the respondents believe; the other is to remove “hot-button” features of the question likely to trigger conflicts between the religious and scientific views. We also illustrate how psychometric methods (such as confirmatory factor analysis) can help sort out which version of the questions produces the most valid answers.

Brian F. Harrison and Melissa R. Michelson. Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes about LGBT Rights. New York: Oxford University Press. 2017. 258 pp. $105.00 (cloth). $29.95 (paper)

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

HarrisonBrian F. and MichelsonMelissa R.. Listen, We Need to Talk: How to Change Attitudes about LGBT Rights. New York: Oxford University Press. 2017. 258 pp. $105.00 (cloth). $29.95 (paper).

North American Public Opinion on Health and Smoking

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Public opinion regarding smoking and health has been of interest to polling companies since the 1940s. This article documents the rate of change in the public’s awareness and beliefs about smoking and health in North America (the United States and Canada). It reports on four broad categories of opinions: public awareness of reports that smoking has been linked to lung cancer; beliefs that smoking is harmful to health and a cause of lung cancer; beliefs that smoking is a cause of diseases other than lung cancer; and beliefs about the health hazards of secondhand smoke.

Christopher D. Johnston, Howard G. Lavine, and Christopher M. Federico. Open versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2017. 294 pp. $94.99 (cloth). $29.99 (paper)

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

JohnstonChristopher D., LavineHoward G., and FedericoChristopher M.. Open versus Closed: Personality, Identity, and the Politics of Redistribution. New York: Cambridge University Press. 2017. 294 pp. $94.99 (cloth). $29.99 (paper).

Donald R. Kinder and Nathan P. Kalmoe. Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2017. 224 pp. $78.00 (cloth). $26.00 (paper)

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

KinderDonald R. and KalmoeNathan P.. Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2017.224 pp. $78.00 (cloth). $26.00 (paper).

Race, Place, and Building a BaseLatino Population Growth and the Nascent Trump Campaign for President

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

A prominent feature of Donald Trump’s campaign for president was the use of racially inflammatory rhetoric and fear over immigration—specifically from Mexico—to galvanize the electorate. Despite the commonly accepted assertion that hostility toward Mexican immigrants was an important attractor of core supporters to his base, analysts and academics alike have failed to explore the role that environmental indicators of perceived threat from immigration, such as residing in an area with a growing Latino population, played in generating support for Trump early in his campaign. We demonstrate that residing in a high-Latino-growth area is predictive of support for Trump following, but not before, his utterance of inflammatory and bellicose comments about Mexican immigrants. Our results suggest that, in addition to the importance of racial resentment and economic frustration, support for Trump in the early campaign period represented an adversarial reaction among Americans to Latino-led diversity.

Waving the Red ClothMedia Coverage of a Contentious Issue Triggers Polarization

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

This study extends the boundary conditions of the work on media effects on polarization by (1) examining whether exposure to news coverage about a contentious political issue polarizes attitudes, especially among the already-polarized citizens; (2) analyzing “easy” and “hard” dimensions of EU attitudes; and (3) offering causal and generalizable evidence in a non-US context. Individual-level data from a representative four-wave panel survey are matched with coded content data on the amount of coverage about the EU in numerous news outlets. Results show that strongly opinionated citizens exposed to news about the EU polarize following exposure, and that the “easy” dimensions of EU attitudes polarize more than the “hard” attitude dimensions. Moreover, polarization emerges among strong EU supporters and opponents alike. These results extend the polarization literature to naturalistic settings and suggest that the polarizing effects of the media may be greater than previously acknowledged.