Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2082516
 


 



Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Why Bo Won’t Fetch Many Votes for Barack Obama in 2012


Matthew L. Jacobsmeier


West Virginia University

Daniel C. Lewis


Siena College - Political Science

June 11, 2012

Forthcoming, PS: Political Science & Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2013

Abstract:     
In “The Dog that Didn't Bark: The Role of Canines in the 2008 Campaign,” Diana Mutz (2010) argues that dog ownership made voters significantly less likely to vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election. We examine this claim further. While President Obama has owned a dog since shortly after his 2008 election, we argue that Bo’s presence will not do much to improve his owner’s chances of being reelected in 2012. Rather, the apparent significance of dog ownership is due largely to key variables being omitted from the analysis. Using the same data, we show that Obama didn’t so much have trouble with dog owners as he had trouble with conservative, rural, Southern whites, who, for reasons we examine, are more likely than other Americans to own dogs. While we recognize the tongue-in-jowl tone of portions of Mutz’s article, this tale is an important one, and is consistent with recent research linking racial attitudes to levels of support for Barack Obama. We also argue that while scholars are often wise to include control variables such as “South” in studies of political attitudes and behavior, it is important to consider the variety of politically-relevant characteristics that such variables may be capturing.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 32

Keywords: race, politics, Barack Obama, prejudice, racism, voting behavior, dogs, 2008 presidential election

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Date posted: June 12, 2012 ; Last revised: January 10, 2013

Suggested Citation

Jacobsmeier, Matthew L. and Lewis, Daniel C., Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Why Bo Won’t Fetch Many Votes for Barack Obama in 2012 (June 11, 2012). Forthcoming, PS: Political Science & Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2082516 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2082516

Contact Information

Matthew L. Jacobsmeier (Contact Author)
West Virginia University ( email )
316 Woodburn Hall
PO Box 6317
Morgantown, WV 26506
United States
Daniel C. Lewis
Siena College - Political Science ( email )
United States
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