Supporters of President Donald Trump are subject to systematic bias in academic research and social surveys — and are routinely and erroneously cast as both ignorant and racist.
This isn’t “merely” the opinion or suspicions of those on the Right — it’s the considered assessment of a Columbia University sociologist.
One instance he looked at was a 2017 Washington Post story titled “Racism Motivated Trump Voters More than Authoritarianism,” by Thomas Wood, a political science instructor at Ohio State University.
The author’s methodological approach was biased and flawed, al-Gharbi found.
“Unfortunately, Wood declined to consider how Trump voters differed from Romney voters … instead focusing on the gap between Democrats and Republicans in 2016, in the service of a conclusion his data do not support,” said al-Gharbi.
Then comes the real media narrative-buster: “According to Wood’s own data, whites who voted for Trump are perhaps less racist than those who voted for Romney,” he said.
He added that “not only were they less authoritarian than Romney voters, but less racist, too!”
Al-Gharbi said that, indeed, “evidence suggests that the role of race has been widely overblown and misunderstood with respect to Trump’s  victory.”
The researcher told Campus Reform his study was motivated partly by his desire to inform potential Trump opposition in the next election; but he is also a proponent of intellectual honesty.
“I also take umbrage at the villainization of Trump supporters,” he said, pointing out that he “grew up in a conservative, religious, military community in Arizona along the United States and Mexico border.”
“Evidence suggests that the role of race has been widely overblown and misunderstood with respect to Trump’s victory.”
Refreshing: This researcher isn’t afraid of what an honest study of the available facts might reveal.
“Trump voters aren’t some mysterious exotic demonic force for me. They are my family, childhood friends, former co-workers, etc.,” he said. “Given this background, I strongly suspected that the cartoonish version of these voters was likely not going to be well-supported by any kind of more even-handed analysis of the available data.”
Al-Gharbi recommended that academic institutions and media outlets hire fact-checkers with opposing viewpoints to keep content informed, balanced, and honest — this seems a novel idea today.
“Basically everyone in these institutions hates the president and [is] willing — eager, even — to believe the worst about his supporters,” he said.
For more on this topic, check out this video: