Definitely Not Moralistic: State Political Culture and Support for Donald Trump in the Race for the 2016 Republican Presidential Nomination
by Patrick I. Fisher, Seton Hall University
This study analyzes the important role state political culture played in the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Donald Trump appealed to demographically distinct types of voters in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries and caucuses that varied considerably from previous Republican presidential nominees. Relative to the demographics of the electorate, however, this study finds that state political culture played an outsized role in determining Donald Trump’s relative level of support in a particular state. When state demographics are utilized in ordinary least squares regression models as independent variables with state partisanship and Daniel Elazar’s state political culture typology, political culture proves to be a significant determinant of the level of support given to Trump in a state. States that are characterized by a more moralistic political culture are considerably more likely to have given Trump a lower share of the vote while voters in states that are characterized by a more traditionalistic or individualistic culture were more likely to support Trump.