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Concept: Mitt Romney


This study evaluates evidence pertaining to popular narratives explaining the American public’s support for Donald J. Trump in the 2016 presidential election. First, using unique representative probability samples of the American public, tracking the same individuals from 2012 to 2016, I examine the “left behind” thesis (that is, the theory that those who lost jobs or experienced stagnant wages due to the loss of manufacturing jobs punished the incumbent party for their economic misfortunes). Second, I consider the possibility that status threat felt by the dwindling proportion of traditionally high-status Americans (i.e., whites, Christians, and men) as well as by those who perceive America’s global dominance as threatened combined to increase support for the candidate who emphasized reestablishing status hierarchies of the past. Results do not support an interpretation of the election based on pocketbook economic concerns. Instead, the shorter relative distance of people’s own views from the Republican candidate on trade and China corresponded to greater mass support for Trump in 2016 relative to Mitt Romney in 2012. Candidate preferences in 2016 reflected increasing anxiety among high-status groups rather than complaints about past treatment among low-status groups. Both growing domestic racial diversity and globalization contributed to a sense that white Americans are under siege by these engines of change.

Concepts: United States, President of the United States, White people, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, United States presidential election, 2012, George W. Romney, Ann Romney


Using a technique known as reverse-correlation image classification, we demonstrated that the face of Mitt Romney as represented in people’s minds varies as a function of their attitudes toward Mitt Romney. Our findings provide evidence that attitudes bias how people see something as concrete and well learned as the face of a political candidate during an election. Practically, our findings imply that citizens may not merely interpret political information about a candidate to fit their opinion, but also may construct a political world in which they literally see candidates differently.

Concepts: Mitt Romney


To assess the impact of Massachusetts Health Reform (MHR) on access, quality, and costs of outpatient care for the already-insured.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Healthcare reform, Health insurance, Health, Massachusetts, Massachusetts health care reform, Mitt Romney


Thanks to the work of politics and religion scholars, we now know a lot about the relationship between religion and voting in American presidential general elections. However, we know less about the influence of religion on individual vote choice in presidential primaries. This article fills that gap by exploring the relationship between religion and candidate preference in the 2008 and 2012 Republican primaries. Using pre-Super Tuesday surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center, I find that the Republican candidate who most explicitly appealed to religious voters (Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012) was the preferred candidate of Republican respondents who attended religious services at the highest levels, and that as attendance increased, so did the likelihood of preferring that candidate. I also find that identification as a born again Christian mattered to candidate preference. Specifically, born again Christians were more likely than non-born again Christians to prefer Huckabee to Mitt Romney, John McCain and Ron Paul in 2008, and Santorum to Romney in 2012. Although ideology was not the primary subject of this article, I find that ideology was also a statistically significant predictor of Republican candidate preference in both 2008 and 2012. This robust finding reinforces scholars' prior work on the importance of ideology in explaining presidential primary vote choice. The overall findings of the paper provide evidence that religion variables can add to our understanding of why voters prefer one candidate over another in presidential primaries.

Concepts: Republican Party, United States presidential election, 2008, Primary election, John McCain, Mitt Romney, 2008 Republican National Convention, Mike Huckabee, New Hampshire primary