How Demographics, Identities, and Policy/Group Attitudes Divide 2020 Democratic Primary Vote Preferences

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How Demographics, Identities, and Policy/Group Attitudes Divide 2020 Democratic Primary Vote Preferences

Racial Resentment Data from 2016 CCES Modules on Github

In 2016, the CCES did not include its typical set of racial resentment battery items on the Common Content portion of the survey. To fill this gap, I searched for CCES team modules that contained racial resentment items, enabling me to extend a time series picture of racial resentment levels in the CCES. Several people have asked for some of the information behind my data collection effort — to make this easily accessible for everyone, I recently posted a Github repository with a few hopefully useful components:

  • a dataset that combines racial resentment data from all CCES modules that contain it, along with other relevant variables
  • raw data and codebooks for modules that contain racial resentment data, if users want to take directly from the source
  • codebooks for every module in 2016; this can be useful for searching for other questions (just download the zip file, and search the resulting folder for keywords)

You can find everything here.

Racial Resentment Data from 2016 CCES Modules on Github

Are Trump Switchers More Similar to Regular Trump Voters or Clinton Voters?

Ahead of the 2020 election, there’s been debate over whether the Democratic Party should try to win over voters who switched to Donald Trump in 2016 — after not having voted in Republican in 2012 . Where these Trump switchers stand politically might matter in this calculus, as certain analyses argue.

I turned to the Voter Study Group panel (using the data released in 2018) to get a sense of these switchers in comparison to all Clinton and Trump voters. Using survey responses on the same individuals, I was able to check these three key groups — Clinton voters, Trump switchers, and Trump voters — 1) for various political beliefs and 2) before, right after, and in years following the 2016 election. Because of its panel nature (thousands of individuals reinterviewed in 2011, 2016, 2017 and 2018), the data can offer unique insights — like opinion measures on Trump switchers ahead of time (five years before the 2016 election). The below graph shows the results. Overall, it’s a mixed bag, but these Trump switchers resemble typical Trump voters more so.

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Here’s a quick roundup of the most interesting results:

  • Trump switchers are attached to the Republican Party, though not as much as all Trump voters are. Interestingly, they are right between Trump and Clinton voters for degree of identification as conservative or very conservative (on self-described ideology).
  • The economy is important for all voters, but the party in power matters for their assessment of the economy in terms of whether it’s getting better. Notably, Trump switchers aren’t the same as all Trump voters (they rate the economy less positively) but these switchers still follow the same upward trend after entering the Trump presidency. This suggests they come under similar pressures of partisan motivated reasoning as regular partisan voters do on perceived conditions that reflect on the party in power (like the economy).
  • The middle row in the graph above containing immigration items has key results. In every year and across almost every item, Trump switchers are very similar to all Trump voters — even in terms of their beliefs in 2011 (before Trump entered political realm). This latter note about preexisting similarities makes it perhaps unsurprising that Trump won these people over (as Trump likely activated this immigration opinion and thus influenced vote choice).
  • For opinion on the Muslim ban — data for which only comes from 2016, 2017, and 2018 — Trump switchers are essentially identical to Trump voters in every year. On another attitude that invokes a social outgroup (i.e. much like opinion on immigration), Trump switchers closely mirror the larger Trump voter bloc.
  • Switchers are more resistant to free trade than either major party voting group.
  • For the role of government in health care coverage, Trump switchers don’t hew more closely to all Clinton or Trump voters, but have grown more conservative on this issue during the Trump era (2016 and 2017).

 

Are Trump Switchers More Similar to Regular Trump Voters or Clinton Voters?

Daily News Interest in the Run-Up to Elections

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I was recently playing with data in the CCES cumulative file, and specifically looking at the news interest variable with the following question in mind: does interest in news and politics increase the closer you get to elections? In the above plot, I show average news interest levels (on a 0-1 scale where higher values indicate more news interest) in every day in the lead-up to the past six elections (and only for days where the weighted survey respondent total was at least 100). Instead of a positive linear trend that would suggest higher interest as the election drew nearer, I find a more parabolic-looking pattern, which holds pretty consistently across the past few elections. Interest is high to start, then declines, then rises back up as the election nears.

My initial interpretation is based on both survey response dynamics and (possibly) election anticipation effects. Perhaps this trend emerges because the people most interested in politics select into taking the CCES during the early period when it’s first starting to get fielded. Then, the less politically interested individuals start to take it. Finally, the closer you get to an election, interest levels start to ramp up as the salience of the election itself grows and it begins to affect individuals. That story is of course speculative, but the pattern and its consistency across election years remain interesting. Moreover, in analysis not shown here, the trend cuts across partisan stripes as well.

Daily News Interest in the Run-Up to Elections