Explaining Nationalist Political Views: The Case of Donald Trump
38 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2016 Last revised: 29 Dec 2017
Date Written: November 2, 2016
The 2016 US presidential nominee Donald Trump has broken with the policies of previous Republican Party presidents on trade, immigration, and war, in favor of a more nationalist and populist platform. Using detailed Gallup survey data for 125,000 American adults, we analyze the individual and geographic factors that predict a higher probability of viewing Trump favorably. The results show mixed evidence that economic distress has motivated Trump support. His supporters are less educated and more likely to work in blue collar occupations, but they earn relatively high household incomes and are no less likely to be unemployed or exposed to competition through trade or immigration. On the other hand, living in racially isolated communities with worse health outcomes, lower social mobility, less social capital, greater reliance on social security income and less reliance on capital income, predicts higher levels of Trump support. We confirm the theoretical results of our regression analysis using machine learning algorithms and an extensive set of additional variables.
Keywords: Elections, Democracy, Nationalism, Economics of Voting
JEL Classification: D6, D7, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation