Black Republicans put most faith in US government

October 29, 2014, University of British Columbia
A new study finds black Republicans are the most trusting of U.S. government. Credit: Adam Fagen, Flickr

Black Republicans trust the United States government more than other political groups, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia, ahead of the mid-term U.S. elections to be held on November 4.

Using election data from 1958 – 2012, the study measures the role race plays in determining levels of government for black and white Americans. While both groups show similar levels of political trust, when party lines are factored in, black Republicans are revealed to be the most faithful.

"Being both black and Republican is seen by some as going against one's self interest," says study author and sociology professor Rima Wilkes. "It's likely that in order to identify as a black Republican, albeit a very small group, one must have an unusual confidence in the political system and its fairness, irrespective of who is in charge."

Previous studies have found democracies work best when citizens trust their government. According to the UBC study, Americans trusted the government the most in the 1960s when Lyndon Johnson was . Americans trusted the government the least in 1980, 1994 and 2008 when Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were president.

"Ideally, people would trust the government no matter who is in power, but this study shows U.S. voters place a lot of faith on individual leaders," says Wilkes.

In addition to political trust, the study measured the likeability of each president from the past half-century based on race and party affiliation.

These graphs show the likeability of each president

The study found that black and white Democrats have liked Barack Obama more than any other president since 1958. Richard Nixon was the most liked president of black Republicans in 1974 and George W. Bush was the most liked president of white Republicans in 2002.

Background

The study, We Trust in Government, Just not In Yours: Race, Partisanship, and Political Trust, 1958 – 2012, appears in the journal, Social Science Research, and is available online here. The print version will be published in early 2015.

The study did not measure trust or support levels of other races due to a lack of sufficient data.

The likeability of each president was determined by the data's presidential thermometer measure. Respondents were asked to rate presidents on a scale of 0 to 100 with 0 indicating feeling "cold" and 100 indicating feeling "warm."

The study also revealed:

  • The number of white Democrats is on the decline, while the number of white Republicans is going up
  • Black Democrats trust the less than white Democrats when the sitting president is Republican

Explore further: Political animosity exceeds racial hostility according to research

Related Stories

Poll: Bush not trusted on healthcare

February 22, 2007

A new poll suggests that U.S. citizens do not trust U.S. President George Bush to reform the nation's healthcare system while 50 percent trust the Democrats.

Dems seek political edge in contraception ruling

July 16, 2014

Democrats see a political winner in the stinging defeat they suffered when the Supreme Court ruled that businesses with religious objections may deny coverage for contraceptives under President Barack Obama's health care ...

Florida election a test for Obama health care law (Update)

March 11, 2014

President Barack Obama's health care overhaul is getting its first test ahead of the 2014 midterm congressional elections Tuesday in a special Florida election where Democrats and Republicans have spent millions of dollars ...

Health care woes help Republicans in 2014 election

November 17, 2013

(AP)—Republicans are seeing the troubled launch of President Barack Obama's signature health care overhaul as a chance to win more seats in the 2014 election, when control of Congress will be at stake.

Recommended for you

New definition returns meaning to information

October 23, 2018

A fish on the Great Barrier Reef continually acquires new information from its environment—the location of food, the murkiness of the water, and the sounds of distant ships, to name a few examples. But only some of that ...

University choice and achievement partly down to DNA

October 18, 2018

Research from King's College London has shown for the first time that genetics plays a significant role in whether young adults choose to go to university, which university they choose to attend and how well they do.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.