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Study: When whites are told they're becoming a minority, they become more conservative

A New York City street, August 2012
A New York City street, August 2012
Laurentiu Garofeanu/Barcroft USA
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

White Americans become more conservative when they're told that whites might soon be a minority in the US, according to a new study in Psychological Science.

The authors, Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson of Northwestern, use data from two main experiments. In one, a group of survey respondents was told that California had become a majority-minority state, and the other group was told that the Hispanic population was now equal in size to the black population in the US. Then, all respondents were asked what their political ideology was. The group that was told whites were in the minority in California identified as more conservative than the second group.

In another experiment, one group of respondents read a press release saying that whites would soon become a minority nationally in 2042, while a second group read a release that didn't mention race. The group primed by race then endorsed more conservative policy positions.

You can download the full study here.

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