Proposal for the ANES 2016 Pilot Study: Measuring Resentment of Black Americans

Since 1986, the American National Election Studies time series studies have included four items measuring a concept known as racial resentment and symbolic racism. Researchers have claimed that responses to these items reflect “a new expression of prejudice that has developed in the United States…based on the belief that blacks violate key American values, particularly the idea of individualism” (Henry and Sears 2008: 111). Research indicates that these items associate with important election- and participation-related phenomena such as white opposition to black political candidates (Ford et al. 2010), Tea Party membership (Tope et al. 2015), and non-voting in the 2008 election (Pasek et al. 2009). However, research indicates that these racial resentment items do not adequately measure antiblack attitudes, either as stand-alone items or with the help of statistical control.

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