A new study shows that since 2008, more white people in the United States oppose welfare programs, in part because of increasing "racial resentment."
One of the reasons for this opposition, according to the report, is white Americans' perceptions that they might be losing their financial and social status while people of color make gains in those areas.
These researchers — Robb Willer, a professor of sociology at Stanford University, and Rachel Wetts, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley — have conducted other studies that linked racial bias and the Tea Party movement.
While conducting this recent study about opposition to welfare, Willer and Wetts showed the respondents graphs they had fabricated. The fictional data demonstrated white Americans becoming a minority or showed the income of white Americans decreasing as the incomes of people of color increased.
The researchers wanted to understand how the behavior of white Americans shifted when they perceived different things — even if untrue — about how certain racial groups were faring.
"We find evidence that welfare backlash among white Americans is driven in part by feelings that the status of whites in America is under threat," Wetts told NPR.