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Wk 4 Race And Public Opinion


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Wk 4 Race And Public Opinion

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