White Identity, Anti-Elitism, and Opposition to COVID-19 Restrictions in the United States

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As groups began to gather to protest COVID-19 restrictions, it became readily apparent that these groups were filled with overwhelmingly white protesters, and were led by organisations that often espoused a white nationalist message. We examine the effects of white identity on opposition to COVID-19 restrictions using original survey data. We find that white identity predicts opposition to COVID-19 mitigation measures, and that this effect persists only when individuals hold anti-elite attitudes. These effects operate above and beyond traditional predictors, such as partisanship and ideology.