An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association in Philadelphia. The data I analyze here were collected by the National Election Study at the Center for Political Studies, University of Michigan, and are available through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. For their helpful advice, I am grateful to Scott Allard, Adam Berinsky, Jake Bowers, Nancy Burns, Kathy Cramer Walsh, Claudia Deane, Jason Frank, Kim Gross, Don Herzog, James Hilton, Vince Hutchings, Michael Jones-Correa, Cindy Kam, Don Kinder, Ann Lin, Harwood McClerking, Walter Mebane, Wendy Rahn, Harvey Schuckman, Abby Stewart, Tim Stewart-Winter, Nick Valentino, Elizabeth Wingrove, David Winter, Sara Winter, Tucker Winter, and three anonymous reviewers.
Beyond Welfare: Framing and the Racialization of White Opinion on Social Security
Article first published online: 29 MAR 2006
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 50, Issue 2, pages 400–420, April 2006
How to Cite
Winter, N. J. G. (2006), Beyond Welfare: Framing and the Racialization of White Opinion on Social Security. American Journal of Political Science, 50: 400–420. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2006.00191.x
- Issue published online: 29 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 29 MAR 2006
In this article I argue that the framing of Social Security in political discourse has associated it symbolically with race. The linkages are subtle and symbolic, and they serve to associate Social Security with whiteness in a mirror image of the association of welfare with blackness. In turn, these associations have racialized white opinion on the program. After discussing the theoretical mechanism by which issue frames can unconsciously associate policies with citizens' racial predispositions, I review the frames surrounding Social Security. Then, drawing on two decades of nationally representative survey data, I demonstrate the racialization of opinion among whites. Using a variety of measures of racial predispositions, I find that racially conservative whites feel more positively about Social Security than do racial liberals. I conclude by considering the implications of these findings for our understanding of racialized politics and for the connections between race, whiteness, and contemporary American politics.