Department of Comparative Politics
Core Lecture

Political Culture, Right Wing Authoritarianism, Social Dominance Orientation, and Trump Voters (Brendon Swedlow)

Who are Trump voters? Efforts to explain US presidential preference incorporate a host of factors and in the Trump era include efforts to assess the role of political culture and support for authoritarianism and social dominance orientation.

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We seek to contribute to this literature using grid-group cultural theory (CT). Using unique survey data from the 2016 elections and structural equation models, we analyze the political cultural bases for the Trump vote as well as support for right wing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation (SDO) as mediators of the Trump vote. Consistent with the literature, we find that RWA and SDO strongly predict the Trump vote. Adding to the literature, we hypothesize and find that hierarchists and fatalists support RWA and SDO. Yet supermajorities of fatalists did not support Trump while individualists and hierarchists split their votes almost equally. The lack of support from individualists is particularly surprising since they are the most consistent conservative and Republican identifiers in the 2011-2021 period. The lack of support from fatalists is also surprising. While most of our hypotheses are supported, we seek to explain why these were not. We conclude by arguing for the theoretical and conceptual superiority of CT over competing political cultural approaches and for comparing them in future studies of the presidential voting along with other directions for further research. 


The programme for the core lecture series for the Spring 2023 is:

  • Cancelled! 16 February: "Peer effects and authoritarianism: Evidence from Norway" - Sirianne Dahlum
  • 16 March: "Nonviolent repression in electoral autocracies" - Katerina Tertytchnaya
  • 30 March: "Political Culture, Right Wing Authoritarianism, Social Dominance Orientation, and Trump Voters" - Brendon Swedlow
  • 1 June: "Need Not Apply: The Relationship Between the Ideology of Candidates for State Supreme Courts and the Contribution Preferences of Male and Female Donors" - Eric N Waltenburg

All seminars are held on Thursdays 14.00-15.30 in the Sampol Meeting room (2nd Floor), and are open to all. 

If you wish to receive invitations to the CORE Lecture Series, you can send a request to Alexander.Verdoes@uib.no