On SAGE Insight: Did Democrat inclusiveness and Republican solidarity lead to the 2016 US presidential election outcome?    

Article title: Them and us: Did Democrat inclusiveness and Republican solidarity lead to the 2016 US presidential election outcome?

From Leadership

On the face of it, the 2016 US presidential election might have looked like an “upset” victory for Donald Trump. However, it is possible to see that Trump and the Republicans would clearly win, and that the Democrats and Clinton would lose, if viewed from a social psychological perspective. If we approach the election as a contest between groups, with competing factions, and if we carefully consider group dynamics, it may not be so surprising after all.

This research reports on a survey of likely voters conducted in the week leading up to the US presidential election of 2016. Using this sample of voters from both political parties, the study sought to examine the prospect of a “winner-takes-all scenario” on the social identities of respondents’ own social group (Republican or Democrat), their perceptions of members of the other group/party, and their respective leadership candidates. In viewing the election as a contest between social groups, in addition to examining the perceived similarity the members had with these social groups, we may better understand the outcome of Trump’s election.

Two hundred and ninety-nine participants were recruited through Amazon’s social research platform, MTurk. Of the participants, 51% were reportedly Democrats, while 49% indicated that they were Republicans.

Group processes, particularly social identity processes and group values, may have had a great deal to do with the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. Results indicated that Democrats were more inclusive, seeing more similarity between themselves and members from the outgroup political party, while Republicans displayed more ingroup solidarity and negative attitudes toward outgroup members. Trump was viewed as a more prototypical leader by Republicans than Clinton was by Democrats. These results may help to explain the perhaps surprising fragility of Democrat voters’ support for Clinton.

Abstract

This research examined the role that group dynamics played in the 2016 US presidential election. Just prior to the election, participants were assessed on perceived self-similarity to group members’ views, perception of own leader’s prototypicality, perceptions of social values, and strength of support (attitudes). Results indicated that Democrats were more inclusive, seeing more similarity between themselves and members from the outgroup political party, while Republicans displayed more ingroup solidarity and negative attitudes toward outgroup members. Trump was viewed as a more prototypical leader by Republicans than Clinton was by Democrats. These results may help to explain the perhaps surprising fragility of Democrat voters’ support for Clinton

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Article details
Them and us: Did Democrat inclusiveness and Republican solidarity lead to the 2016 US presidential election outcome?
Julie Christian, Daniella Nayyar Ronald Riggio Dominic Abrams
Corresponding Author: Julie ChristianFirst Published August 24, 2018 Research Article
DOI: 10.1177/1742715018793733
From Leadership

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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