Wk 4 Race And Public Opinion
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Wk 4 Race And Public Opinion






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Wk 4 Race And Public Opinion Wk 4 Race And Public Opinion Presentation Transcript

  • Race and Public Opinion
    Prof. Jim Krueger
    PS 304
    Spring 2010
  • Quiz 2 returned
    Defining the racial divide in public opinion
    Kinder and Sanders
    Competing theories of public opinion
    Returning to the approaches of last week
    Self interest, group animosity, competing values
    Explaining the roots of the divide
    How might we extend this analysis to include other minority groups?
    Lecture Outline
  • Focus on the main argument
    Should be specific, directional
    Define appropriate terms
    Social distance, negative stereotypes
    A short parenthetical comment is sufficient
    List data source
    ‘a national survey; used only the white respondents’
    List the major findings
    Focus on brevity
    Quiz 2 Feedback
  • K and S focus on explaining the views of blacks and whites on matters of race
    Note that this may be different than providing a precise snapshot of public opinion
    Defining the racial divide in public opinion
  • K and S suggest that the gap on support for policy could result from several different sources
    Does the issue present economic threat or benefit?
    Group animosity:
    Due to racial resentment, feelings of solidarity with coethnics
    Individualism v. equality: class of competing principles
    Returning to our competing theories
  • Public opinion defined “Those opinions held by private citizens which governments find it prudent do heed.” (12) from Key
    Data are from NES 1970-1992; GSS 1990
    Allows for comparison across years (longitudinal)
    Also provides greater specificity for certain years
    Provides a glimpse of elite signals during election years
    How can we test the model?
  • The Gap
  • What are trends the authors uncover for each policy area?
    Equal Opportunity
    Federal Programs
    Affirmative Action
    What role do class and gender play?
    What about education or engagement?
    Defining the Gap
  • Major Findings: Principles
    The authors look at the impact of three different values on public opinion:
    Limited government, economic individualism, equality
    Effects appeared largest for equality
    Among both blacks and whites those who had stronger attachments to equality as a principle were most supportive of redistributive and rights policies in the abstract
    More nuanced on specific issues
    Strong impact on school desegregation, fair employment
    Weak on affirmative action
    No difference from others on immigration and english-only laws
  • Self-interest
    Logically consistent, but little evidence
    Those who felt personally threatened were not any more opposed to affirmative action policies
    Those who stood to benefit personally were no more supportive than others
    Self interest only matters when:
    Benefits or harms are great, well publicized, and the results are certain
    Major Findings, 2
  • Rather than focus on individual benefits, many focus on the perceived impact of government policies on their racial group
    Among whites, a belief in group threat to collective interests led to a reduction in support for policies designed to reduce racial inequalities
    Among blacks, affirmative action policies generally work to help coethnics, but only rarely
    If the respondents believed that affirmative action policies enhance opportunities, or that discrimination obstructed the progress of blacks as a group, they were more supportive of the policies
    From self-interest to group interest:
  • Although racial resentment has undergone a dramatic reduction since the 1940s, it remains pervasive
    Present in whites’ views on: affirmative action, welfare, capital punishment, urban unrest, sexual harassment, gay rights, immigration, defense spending, etc.
    Example: Welfare reform. Many whites exaggerate the proportion of poor who are black—those with the most distorted perceptions were least supportive of federal spending on welfare
    From interests to prejudice
  • Racial resentment, as a force affecting public opinion, is not uniform in impact
    What matters most often is the presentation of the issue
    Use of the word ‘quota’ in college admissions v. primary school desegregation
    ‘special assistance’; ‘unfair advantage’ (rather than reverse discrimination), and the use of race instead of race neutral or class based policies reduced support for government assistance programs
    Essentially, how the issue was discussed was as important as the nature of the issue
    The limits of racial resentment
  • The gap in support for specific policies results from how the issues are presented
    What matters the most is now how individuals understand the issues, but how elites present them.
    Kinder and Sanders ‘Mimicking the Debate”
    Presented last week in lecture
    The idea was that different justifications for the same policy made people think about the policy different
    More importantly, they caused people to associate the policy with groups and other policies differently
    Changed the ‘Context’—Taylor and stereotyping
    Another approach to the gap:
  • Found that using issue frames in questions
    Increased opinions, connections between opinions and values, and the strength of opinions
    Frames tended to ‘push’ respondents when they were presented alone
    Both blacks and whites preferred race neutral to explicitly racial policies
    Support for neighborhood integration was 25% lower when respondents were not presented with an argument which also supported integration
    The impact of elite discussion
  • The emergence of the ‘racial code’
    A word or phrase which provides a specific meaning for part of an audience, while maintaining deniability for the speaker
    Appeared in the 1960s, with the decline in acceptability of overt racism
    The 1988 and 1992 Presidential elections
    Not discussed by either candidate in 1988, but law enforcement was discussed at length
    Neglect of African American interests by Democrats
    Focus on coded appeals by Republicans
    Horton/Jackson linkages, Horton/Dukakis ticket
    Race in Elections
  • Given the logic of Kinder and Sanders’ model, how could we incorporate other racial or ethnic minority groups?
    What does the model tell us their opinion would be?
    What about attitudes of other groups toward them?
    Extending our knowledge: