#CatoConnects: Findings from the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group

June 20, 2017

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a new research collaboration of nearly two dozen analysts and scholars from across the political spectrum, recently released new data and analysis exploring voter perceptions before and after the 2016 election.

During the intense political division of the 2016 presidential campaign, the Voter Study Group began collaborating across ideological lines to examine the underlying values and opinions that influence voter decision-making. The expert group commissioned a new survey of 8,000 adults who had participated in similar surveys in mid-2016, 2011, and 2012. This unique longitudinal data set provides the basis for four new reports analyzing many of the most hotly-debated subjects of the presidential election, including economic stress, trade, race, immigration, and the evolution of the parties. During this special #CatoConnects experts who participated in this Democracy Fund project will be providing analysis and results from this study.

The Cato Institute’s Emily Ekins, a member of the study group, created a “typology” of Trump voters finding five unique groups: American Preservationists (20%), Staunch Conservatives (31%), Anti-Elites (19%), Free Marketeers (25%), and the Disengaged (5%). Despite media narratives seeking out a single explanation of the Trump vote, these results indicate there is no such thing as “one kind of Trump voter” who voted for him for one single reason. Rob Griffin, another member of the study group, also finds that long-term economic stress combined with anxieties over immigration and cultural concerns, profoundly shaped the 2016 election. Ekins will discuss this and her findings that have several implications from the libertarian perspective.

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