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Does providing information about police shootings influence policing reform preferences? We conducted an online survey experiment in 2021 among approximately 2,600 residents of 10 large US cities. It incorporated original data we collected on police shootings of civilians. After respondents estimated the number of police shootings in their cities in 2020, we randomized subjects into three treatment groups and a control group. Treatments included some form of factual information about the police shootings in respondents’ cities (e.g., the actual total number). Afterward, respondents were asked their opinions about five policing reform proposals. Police shooting statistics did not move policing reform preferences. Support for policing reforms is primarily associated with partisanship and ideology, coupled with race. Our findings illuminate key sources of policing reform preferences among the public and reveal potential limits of information-driven, numeric-based initiatives to influence policing in the US.
Charge: As Ismail K. White and Chryl N. Laird note, collectively more than 80% of African Americans self-identify as Democrats according to surveys, and no Republican presidential candidate has won more than 13% of the Black vote since 1968. This is true despite the fact that at the individual level many African Americans are increasingly politically moderate and even conservative. Against this backdrop, what explains the enduring nature of African American support for the Democratic Party? In Steadfast Democrats: How Social Forces Shape Black Political Behavior, White and Laird answer this question by developing the concept of “racialized social constraint,” a unifying behavioral norm meant to empower African Americans as a group and developed through a shared history of struggle against oppression and for freedom and equality. White and Laird consider the historical development of this norm, how it is enforced, and its efficacy both in creating party loyalty and as a path to Black political power in the United States. On the cusp of perhaps the most consequential presidential election in American history, one for which African American turnout was crucial, we asked a range of leading political scientists to assess the relative strengths, weaknesses, and ramifications of this argument.
A growing body of research explores the influence of involuntary criminal justice contact on political participation, demonstrating that all types of contact weaken political participation. We posit, however, that personal connections to civil society organizations (CSOs) moderate the negative effects of involuntary criminal justice contact on political participation, particularly political activism beyond registering to vote and voting. We test this proposition with individual-level and aggregate-level data from metropolitan and municipal Chicago. Our findings confirm a paradox of participation by custodial citizens. One, we demonstrate positive, statistically significant, and substantive effects of personal connections to CSOs on nonvoting political participation by custodial citizens. Two, the negative effects of involuntary criminal justice contact on voting participation among individuals and communities may endure, despite personal connections to CSOs, even in a state where the franchise is restored immediately after incarceration. Our study suggests that an associational account of political participation deepens our understanding of the political behavior of custodial citizens and their communities in the age of mass incarceration.
This research examines the extent to which negative attitudes toward African Americans influence public reactions to restoring political rights to felons. We argue that race-neutral policies, such as felon disenfranchisement laws, are non-separable from racial considerations, as images of criminals and felons are typically associated with Blacks. Such attitudes produce collateral consequences for felons, hampering the restoration of their full political rights and, ultimately, their citizenship. Predispositions, such as racial attitudes and political ideology, provide both racial and nonracial justifications for supporting these laws, yet, there are no empirical accounts of their relational effects on opinion toward felons’ rights. Using nationally representative survey data, we find that racialized resentment and ideology exert the most influence on the reactions to policies seeking political rights for felons as well as beliefs about the value of doing so. Consistent with much of the literature on attitudes toward ameliorative racial policies, higher levels of racial resentment strongly predict lower support for felons’ political rights among both conservatives and liberals, yet, racial resentment is most influential among liberals. Conservatives exhibit the highest levels of racial resentment, but its impact is depressed more by agreement on both racial attitudes and opposition to political rights of felons.
As field determinations take much effort, it would be useful to be able to predict easily the coefficients describing the functional response of free-living predators, the function relating food intake rate to the abundance of food organisms in the environment. As a means easily to parameterise an individual-based model of shorebird Charadriiformes populations, we attempted this for shorebirds eating macro-invertebrates. Intake rate is measured as the ash-free dry mass (AFDM) per second of active foraging; i.e. excluding time spent on digestive pauses and other activities, such as preening. The present and previous studies show that the general shape of the functional response in shorebirds eating approximately the same size of prey across the full range of prey density is a decelerating rise to a plateau, thus approximating the Holling type II (‘disc equation’) formulation. But field studies confirmed that the asymptote was not set by handling time, as assumed by the disc equation, because only about half the foraging time was spent in successfully or unsuccessfully attacking and handling prey, the rest being devoted to searching.
A review of 30 functional responses showed that intake rate in free-living shorebirds varied independently of prey density over a wide range, with the asymptote being reached at very low prey densities (<150/m−2). Accordingly, most of the many studies of shorebird intake rate have probably been conducted at or near the asymptote of the functional response, suggesting that equations that predict intake rate should also predict the asymptote.
A multivariate analysis of 468 ‘spot’ estimates of intake rates from 26 shorebirds identified ten variables, representing prey and shorebird characteristics, that accounted for 81% of the variance in logarithm-transformed intake rate. But four-variables accounted for almost as much (77.3%), these being bird size, prey size, whether the bird was an oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus eating mussels Mytilus edulis, or breeding. The four variable equation under-predicted, on average, the observed 30 estimates of the asymptote by 11.6%, but this discrepancy was reduced to 0.2% when two suspect estimates from one early study in the 1960s were removed. The equation therefore predicted the observed asymptote very successfully in 93% of cases.
We conclude that the asymptote can be reliably predicted from just four easily measured variables. Indeed, if the birds are not breeding and are not oystercatchers eating mussels, reliable predictions can be obtained using just two variables, bird and prey sizes. A multivariate analysis of 23 estimates of the half-asymptote constant suggested they were smaller when prey were small but greater when the birds were large, especially in oystercatchers. The resulting equation could be used to predict the half-asymptote constant, but its predictive power has yet to be tested.
As well as predicting the asymptote of the functional response, the equations will enable research workers engaged in many areas of shorebird ecology and behaviour to estimate intake rate without the need for conventional time-consuming field studies, including species for which it has not yet proved possible to measure intake rate in the field.
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