Demographic change threat, preference for nondemocratic governance, and support for political violence

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Objective: This study examines whether white Americans who fear projected demographic trends leading to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the United States, an attitude labeled demographic change threat, also exhibit greater support for the use of political violence. The study also examines whether preference for nondemocratic governance among whites mediates the relationship between demographic change threat and support for political violence. Methods: The study uses two original public opinion surveys of U.S. whites fielded at separate times and employs two different operationalizations of support for political violence: support for political violence in the abstract and support for specific incidents of political violence. The study also uses mediation analysis to determine the mediation effects of preference for nondemocratic governance. Results: The findings reveal that U.S. whites exhibiting demographic change threat are substantially more likely to express support for all forms of political violence. Preference for nondemocratic governance is also found to be a significant and substantial mediator between demographic change threat and support for political violence. Conclusion: The study concludes that demographic change threat is an important factor for support for political violence among U.S. whites by driving anti-democratic attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences

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