March 28, 2016

THE IMMIGRANTS THEY HATE ARE CONNECTED:

Does lack of social connectedness explain Trump's appeal? (Michael Barone, 3/28/16, AEI)


In the 13 states highest in social connectedness, Trump has gotten just 21-35 percent in primaries and caucuses. In the 11 states lowest in social connectedness (excluding Cruz's home state of Texas), his percentages ranged from 33-47 percent.

In states with medium social-connectedness but many retirees who vote in Republican primaries -- Florida, Arizona -- Trump has run in the high 40s. Similarly in Massachusetts, where only a sliver of voters are registered Republicans, their social connectedness may be limited to listening to Howie Carr on talk radio.

The good news for Trump opponents is that all but West Virginia of the 11 low-social-connectedness states have already voted. Seven of the 13 high-social-connectedness states do, including Wisconsin April 5. There, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Craig Gilbert finds Trump getting massive unfavorable ratings in the heavily German-American area around Milwaukee, which unlike other northern suburbs remains heavily Republican. Cruz has led Trump in two recent Wisconsin polls.

All remaining contests but one are in states with high social connectedness (Colorado, Oregon, Washington, the Dakotas, Nebraska) and medium levels (the Northeast, New Mexico, California). Many states choose most delegates by congressional districts, and there are no sufficiently granular metrics of social connectedness for precise forecasting.

Still, social connectedness strikes me as the most useful explanation I've seen yet of the variations in Trump's appeal. It's plausible that people with few social connections and inclined to blame elites for their problems might see in Donald Trump, who promises singlehandedly to make things great again, "a sense of collective identity," as Clare Malone of fivethirtyeight.com writes.

Posted by at March 28, 2016 7:26 PM

  

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