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Assaults on Days of Campaign Rallies During the 2016 US Presidential Election

Morrison, Christopher, N.a; Ukert, Benjamina,b; Palumbo, Aimeea,c; Dong, Beidid; Jacoby, Sara, F.c; Wiebe, Douglas, J.a

doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000821
Social Epidemiology

Background: This study investigates whether assault frequency increased on days and in cities where candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton held campaign rallies prior to the 2016 US Presidential election.

Methods: We calculated city-level counts of police-reported assaults for 31 rallies for Donald Trump and 38 rallies for Hillary Clinton. Negative binomial models estimated the assault incidence on rally days (day 0) relative to that on eight control days for the same city (days -28, -21, -14, -7, +7, +14, +21, and +28).

Results: Cities experienced an increase in assaults (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.03–1.22) on the days of Donald Trump’s rallies, and no change in assaults on the days of Hillary Clinton’s rallies (IRR = 1.00; 95% CI: 0.94–1.06).

Conclusion: Assaults increased on days when cities hosted Donald Trump’s rallies during the 2016 Presidential election campaign.

From the aDepartment of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

bLeonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

cSchool of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

dDepartment of Criminology, George Mason University, Law and Society, Fairfax, VA.

Submitted August 21, 2017; accepted March 9, 2018.

Data Access: All data for this analysis are available through public online sources. Code for the statistical analysis is available from the authors by request.

Human Subjects: This study received an exemption from the University of Pennsylvania Institutional Review Board.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available through direct URL citations in the HTML and PDF versions of this article (www.epidem.com).

Correspondence: Christopher N. Morrison, Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, University of Pennsylvania, 423 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104. E-mail: cneil@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

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