Date of Award
Master of Arts
Following voting for George W. Bush in 2000, research shows that Muslim Americans moved away from the Republican Party in 2004 in unprecedented numbers and continued to support the Democratic Party in subsequent elections. To explain Muslim Americans' shifting voting preference most studies employ quantitative survey methods and examine associations between religious variables and partisanship. In this study, with a focus on the 2016 Presidential election, I analyze qualitative data gathered from 22 in-depth interviews in Memphis and develop a theoretical framework of emotional-cognition to interpret Muslim Americans' voting behaviors. I find that emotion played an important role in Muslim Americans' political participation and voter choice. I suggest that anti-Muslim rhetoric from then President-elect Trump and conservative pundits sent emotion signals of fear to Muslim American voters who, in turn, became afraid for their safety and livelihood, and such a fear drove them to vote for the Democratic Party.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Boudreaux, JoAnna, "The Fear Factor: Developing A Framework Of Emotional Cognition For Understanding Muslim Americans' Voting Behavior In 2016" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1740.