What We Find:

In this research note, we analyze a recent critique of Mutz (2018). In her article, Mutz finds “status threat” to predict support for Trump in 2016. The criticism argues that “status threat” is ill-defined and incorrectly measured and that Mutz misspecified her models. We explore each claim in turn.


The choice to include immigration, trade, China, terrorism, and isolationism attitudes as status threat, not a material interest, as is done in Mutz (2018) is defensible. Morgan (2018) does not provide sufficient reasons for rejecting this categorization.

  • The modeling choices made in (Mutz 2018) are defensible.

  • Morgan’s concerns regarding causality are also defensible.

  • Attitudes about immigration were a key determinant in the 2016 election outcome.

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