Researchers Matthew Lutting, Christopher Federico and Howard Lavine took it upon themselves to study Donald Trump supporters’ reactions to seeing images of a white male and a black male. The results revealed that they reacted more angrily seeing a photo of a black man, Vox.com reported on Friday.
In the study, said Vox’s German Lopez, “the trio of researchers exposed respondents to images of either a white or black man. They found that when exposed to the image of a black man, white Trump supporters were less likely to back a federal mortgage aid program. Favorability toward Trump was a key measure for how strong this effect was.”
The trio also studied Hillary Clinton supporters with the same study, which were “relatively unmoved by racial cues.”
“The study is just the latest to show that racial attitudes are a powerful predictor for support for Trump — and the newest to suggest that such attitudes play a major role in Americans’ views toward public policy,” Lopez wrote. “Previous studies have found that racial resentment was a much stronger indicator of support for Trump than views about the economy. And other research has shown that priming people to think about race can make them more conservative on a host of issues.”
Or, as The Root’s Michael Harriot wrote, “Trump voters are very complex. They are conservatives who believe big government is getting out of hand. They want lower taxes for the middle class. They believe in comprehensive immigration reform. They want an economic policy that reflects the average… Nah, I’m just bullsh*tting. They just don’t like black people.”
According to Lopez, Trump is inviting to racial discrimination. In fact, he’s the main cause of it.
Lopez said the study shows that Trump has “a powerful incentive to keep people thinking about race: If his most ardent supporters just need a slight racial cue to come around to his conservative policy views, then Trump simply has to bring up race to get his supporters fired up for him.”
The study included 700 white voters who were asked about their support for housing assistance programs, but — in a twist — the materials they were shown contained “a subtle image of either a white or a black man.”
“They found that the image of a black man greatly impacted responses among Trump supporters. After they were exposed to the black racial cue, they were not only less supportive of housing assistance programs, but they also expressed higher levels of anger that some people receive government assistance and were more likely to say that individuals who receive assistance are to blame for their situation,” said Lopez.
The researchers concluded, “These findings indicate that responses to the racial cue varied as a function of feelings about Donald Trump — but not feelings about Hillary Clinton — during the 2016 presidential election.”