White People Support Voter ID Laws More After Seeing Black People Voting

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October 14, 2014 12:07 p.m.

Support among white Americans for voter ID laws increases when that question is asked alongside of a photo of African Americans voting, according to a new study.

The new University of Delaware study found that 67 percent of white Americans supported voter ID laws after the question was posed to them with text only or accompanied by a photo of white people voting. But that number increased to 73 percent when the same question is asked with an accompanying photo of African-Americans voting.

“Our findings suggest that public opinion about voter ID laws can be racialized by simply showing images of African American people,” David C. Wilson, who helped supervise the study, said. “The resulting increase in support for the laws happens independently of —even after controlling for— political ideology and negative attitudes about African Americans.”

The spike, from 67 percent to 73 percent, may not be huge but it’s still statistically significant, The Washington Post noted. While there was an increase among white Americans who were asked about their support for voter ID laws, an accompanying picture of black people voting did not cause African Americans or Hispanic voters to show stronger support for voter ID laws.

Here’s a graph of the study’s findings:

The survey results, flagged by the Post on Tuesday, are based on data from a 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study. Data from 1,436 adult respondents in a September 2012 survey was used. Broken down by ethnicity, 80 percent of those surveyed were white, 11 percent were African American and 7 percent were non-White Hispanic.

(H/t: The Washington Post)

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