Weather to Protest: The Effect of Black Lives Matter Protests on the 2020 Presidential Election

43 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2021 Last revised: 30 Apr 2024

See all articles by Bouke Klein Teeselink

Bouke Klein Teeselink

King's College London; Yale School of Management

Georgios Melios

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science; University College London

Date Written: March 22, 2021

Abstract

Do mass mobilizations bring about social change? This paper explores this question by studying the impact of the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after George Floyd’s death on the 2020 presidential election. We show, through an IV and a Diff-in-Diff approach, that variation in protesting activity caused increased support for the Democratic party in counties with heightened protest activity. Our analysis examines the effects of these protests not only on voting but also on public opinion. By distinguishing between the short-term backlash and the long-term effect on racial attitudes and voting behavior, we provide causal evidence of the protests' overall effect, as well as insights into the timeline and mechanisms through which this influence materialized. We show that the observed effects cannot be fully attributed to changes in turnout, and that protests also engender shifts in people’s attitudes about racial disparities.

Keywords: Collective Action, Black Lives Matter, Presidential Elections, Protests, IV

JEL Classification: D72, J15

Suggested Citation

Klein Teeselink, Bouke and Melios, Georgios, Weather to Protest: The Effect of Black Lives Matter Protests on the 2020 Presidential Election (March 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3809877 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3809877

Bouke Klein Teeselink (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

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London
United Kingdom

Yale School of Management ( email )

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Georgios Melios

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science ( email )

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55/56 Lincoln's Inn
Fields, London, WC2A 3LJ
United Kingdom

University College London ( email )

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