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Race, Immigration, and Support for Donald Trump: Evidence From the 2018 North Carolina Election


Sociological Forum

Published online on


["\nOne of the longest standing debates in political sociology and political science concerns how people deploy identities and social cues to form political opinions. This debate turns on questions such as, is opinion formation essentially about social class, racial identification, or about other forms of identity or interest? Using original polling data from North Carolina, we model approval for President Trump in the run‐up to the 2018 midterm elections. Our findings show that support for Trump and the policies associated with his administration were highly connected to support for one policy that was particularly salient during that campaign—that is, the border wall. Among White respondents, support for the wall is strongly connected with perceptions of group threat; however, among Black respondents, group threat is unconnected with support for the wall and therefore for Trump and Trump‐related policies. Consistent with prior work on identity and political views, we theorize that cultural identification as a Trump supporter through one key issue serves as a learning mechanism through which voters develop support for other associated policies.\n", "Sociological Forum, Volume 35, Issue S1, Page 941-953, September 2020. "]