The trio of researchers conducted the study by visiting four places between August 2016 and March 2017: Birmingham, Alabama; Dayton, Ohio; Tacoma, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona; and — for some reason — the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
The researchers spoke candidly with over 400 people who identify as members of the white working class.
Here is what they found:
In 2016, Trump was the ‘hope and change’ candidate for white working-class voters
The participants in the study say they view Trump as “strong” and “hardworking.”
The Trump campaign “personified an insurgent, anti-establishment rage against ‘politics as normal,’” according to the study participants.
“In many ways, Trump was the hope and change candidate in 2016, as Obama had been in 2008, albeit representing different constituencies.”
Some Trump voters say they were “appalled by” some of Trump’s statements during the campaign but “they valued that he was a ‘straight talker’” who appeared “‘direct’ and ‘honest’ in contrast with his opponents during the Republican primaries and the presidential campaign.”
Many study participants describe Clinton as a duplicitous elitist who is “very much outside a core set of working-class values.”
“White working-class perspectives on Hillary Clinton ranged from visceral dislike to lukewarm support,” the researchers found. “Typically, the views expressed about her focused on being untrustworthy and dishonest, as well as accumulating a fortune from not working hard.”