230 Final Assignment – Fall 2019
Understanding the bases of support for the
“Black Lives Matter” movement
One of the defining issues in American politics is, and always has been, race.
In recent years, one of the manifestations of this societal cleavage has been the
development of the “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) movement. The movement originated
following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who had shot and killed Trayvon
Martin, a black teenager, in Florida in 2012. In the period that followed, BLM
grew into a more general movement opposed to what was widely perceived as systematic
pattern of unnecessary violence and discrimination towards blacks (usually
young men) at the hands of police. The movement led to sizable public
demonstrations and social media campaigns, and received widespread attention
from media outlets. There was some noteworthy backlash to the BLM movement,
including the emergence of the ‘blue lives matter’ movement, which had pro-police
officer sentiment. Importantly for our purposes, debates about BLM become
relevant to politics and presidential elections.
You are to use data from the 2016
National Election Study dataset to conduct a series of statistical analyses and
answer a series of questions about attitudes towards the BLM movement. The
survey includes a variety of questions about sociodemographic indicators,
attitudes, and behaviours. Your primary variable of interest is an interval
level measure of attitudes towards BLM. The
measure is based upon a standard ‘feeling thermometer’ question, which asks
respondents to rate BLM on a scale from 0 (strong dislike) to 100 (strong
like). The variable name is ft_BLM.
Your report should consist of
the following sections.
a brief introduction, including an overview of your study’s topic and findings.
You understand the importance of theory driving
any statistical analysis. Perform a review of the existing literature on attitudes
towards BLM. Which sociodemographic or
attitudinal factors are thought to be associated with attitudes towards this
movement? This review should be between 2
and 3 pages, and should be focused upon identifying a series of specific
factors you expect to affect attitudes towards BLM. If you find it difficult to find literature
on BLM in particular, then feel free to broaden your search to consider
similar, relevant search terms. If you take this approach, be sure to justify
this and show how your broader search is relevant to BLM.
Conduct a univariate analysis to describe the BLM
feeling thermometer variable. What are
the appropriate measures to report here?
Also present a bar chart or histogram to convey the information captured
by this variable. Hint: Determine which values are the most important
and present this information in a table.
Recall that National Election Study data based
upon survey responses from a sample
of the American voting population. As a
good political scientist, you know that this means that your conclusions must
be drawn with some degree of modesty.
For example, you know that the estimated rating of the BLM movement from
#3 (above) should, in fact, report a range
when attempting to draw conclusions about the population as a whole. In addition to the mean value or the BLM feeling
thermometer score, also provide the range of values within which you are 95%
confident that the actual population estimate lies. Do the same for the feeling thermometer
scores for two other targets: the police (ft_Police)
and Donald Trump (ft_Trump_pre). Hint: Provide your results in a table.
You expect race and gender will have a
relationship with attitudes towards the BLM movement. Conduct two separate analysis
to determine if these two factors are, in fact, related to attitudes towards BLM.
The variable Female indicates
gender, while Race3 categorizes
respondents as either black, white, or Hispanic (other respondents are not included
in this variable). Conduct the
appropriate analysis to determine if either variable (gender or race) is
related to support for BLM. If you observe differences between your groups of
respondents, are these differences statistically significant? Hint:
you will need to draw upon material from multiple lectures in order to answer
this question fully.
understand the importance of controlling for confounding variables when making
causal claims. In particular, you are
interested in whether the effect of gender upon attitudes towards BLM is
conditional upon race. Using the Race3
and Female variables, conduct the
appropriate analysis to determine if the effect of gender depends upon respondent
race. Present these results in table and
graphical format, being sure to report all necessary statistics. Hint: These results should build upon those from #5.
Think carefully about which variable is your control.
wish to also determine how attitudes towards Donald Trump are related to
attitudes towards BLM. Create a scatterplot to show the relationship between ft_Trump_pre and the BLM thermometer
variable. Present and interpret the
regression equation. What is the Pearson
correlation value? Hint: Be sure to report all
appropriate values here, in addition to the regression equation.