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Explaining Nationalist Political Views: The Case of Donald Trump

38 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2016 Last revised: 6 Nov 2016

Jonathan T. Rothwell

Gallup; George Washington University Institute of Public Policy

Pablo Diego-Rosell

Gallup

Date Written: November 2, 2016

Abstract

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

Rothwell, Jonathan T. and Diego-Rosell, Pablo, Explaining Nationalist Political Views: The Case of Donald Trump (November 2, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2822059 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2822059

Jonathan T. Rothwell (Contact Author)

Gallup ( email )

901 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
United States

George Washington University Institute of Public Policy ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Pablo Diego-Rosell

Gallup ( email )

901 F St NW
Washington, DC 20004
United States

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