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Cultural Disempowerment: What Most Unites and Animates Modern Republican Voters

  • Author(s): Sherrer, Thomas
  • Advisor(s): Sears, David O
  • Vavreck, Lynn
  • et al.
Abstract

In this paper, I use survey experiments to try to better understand attitudes around political correctness, shifting cultural power, and competing standards for what constitutes racism/discrimination (all highly polarized issues at present). I find no evidence that cultural threats nudge attitudes in a conservative direction the way racial, demographic threats have been shown to do. However, in a separate experimentally manipulated scenario, I find that Democrats are more sympathetic to racial minorities, while Republicans are roughly equally sympathetic to whites and racial minorities complaining about a racially offensive event. This suggests that Democrats tend to consider the historical plight of groups when making judgements about speech norms and what is considered legitimately offensive while Republicans do not. Additional basic survey items support the notion that Democrats and Republicans conceive of racism and discrimination in highly divergent ways, making productive dialogue across partisan camps difficult on these issues, even assuming good faith on all sides.

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