Surveys at the Intersection of COVID and Police Protests

Awarded Scholars:
Andra Gillespie, Emory University
Project Date:
Feb 2021
Award Amount:

Co-funded by JPB Foundation

The links between the COVID-19 pandemic and the mass protests against police violence and racism implicate America’s deep history of racism. Recent surveys have charted attitudes regarding former President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and race relations, mask-wearing, and reopening schools. However, these surveys often do not include variables that examine how people form their attitudes about the pandemic, their COVID hygiene habits, and motivations for their pandemic behaviors. As a proof of concept, political scientist Andra Gillespie will conduct five national surveys using Qualtrics respondents (some involving experimental interventions) that examine causal or correlative relationships between variables, such as linked fate, racial resentment and social dominance orientation, and COVID-related attitudes and behaviors. Gillespie will examine social distancing practices, how respondents rate the former president and their governor’s handling of the pandemic, and their support for stay-at-home restrictions and mandated business and school closures. She will also ask if they or close friends and family have been economically displaced by the pandemic or have contracted the disease and include standard measures of racial resentment and social dominance orientation. A primary focus is the extent to which racial minorities endorse the concept of linked fate—the mechanism by which group consciousness leads to political cohesion among group members. She hypothesizes that respondents without linked fate may be more resistant to communal health behaviors like mandated mask wearing.


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