Results of a new survey titled “The 2012 Election and the Sources of Partisan Polarization: A Survey of American Political Attitudes” and conducted by the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center received national attention after the poll’s May 21 release. MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews as well as NBC’s First-Read, the network’s news and analysis daily summary from the NBC News Political Unit, both reported on the poll. Also reporting on the poll were the political website Political Wire, UPI, The Washington Times and BusinessWeek.
All questions in the Hamilton component were designed by the undergraduate students in Government Professor Philip Klinkner’s Fall 2012 Political Parties and Elections course. Some of their major findings included:
- Racial resentment significantly influenced the presidential vote in 2012, with Obama winning overwhelmingly among the approximately one-third of voters with the least amount of racial resentment, running about even among those with moderate levels of resentment and losing in a landslide among those with the highest levels of racial resentment.
- Approximately 29 percent of Americans believe that Obama was born outside of the United States and 81 percent of those believe President Obama is ineligible to serve as president.
- After the 2012 election, fears about voter fraud abated among Democrats but skyrocketed among Republicans, with a majority (58 percent) of Republicans not confident at all about the fairness of the election.
- The majority of Republicans believe that only Blacks and Latinos have benefited from President Obama’s policies. On the other hand, the majority of Democrats think that White, Blacks, Latinos, the middle class have benefited from President Obama’s policies.
- When asked, “Do you believe that God has a plan for the USA?,” a large majority (72 percent) of Republicans agreed to some extent compared to the majority of Democrats (51 percent) who disagreed.