Term of Award

Spring 2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Ted M. Brimeyer

Committee Member 1

Jynette M. Larshus

Committee Member 2

William L. Smith

Abstract

This paper examines the main factors affecting support for social programs: class, race, political ideology, and beliefs about poverty. Using ordinary least squares regression (OLS) and bivariate correlation models, I examine how racial priming influences blacks' and whites' support for social programs such as welfare and unemployment. The premise of a racial primer is that people's racial attitudes or beliefs, overt or hidden, will be enhanced when reading information that confirms their attitudes or beliefs. While the racial primers did not directly influence support for social programs, they did moderate the independent variables' affect on the levels of support for social programs. I also found that racial attitudes significantly influenced support for social programs across all five of the dependent variables used in this study; positive and negative attitudes of welfare, support for extreme and assistive intervention methods, and fear of losing status to minorities. Finally, this research offers a renewed interest in direct and hidden prejudices held by both blacks and whites.

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