The Appeal of Black Republican Candidates: Does Party and Gender Matter? An Experimental Study
45 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2011 Last revised: 12 Apr 2013
Date Written: October 31, 2011
The election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has coincided with increased levels of black involvement within the Republican Party: The 2010 elections ushering in Black Republicans into Congress for the first time since 2003, Jennifer Carroll becoming the first black Republican woman elected Lieutenant Governor of Florida, and current black Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain gaining popularity among Republican primary voters. Given these recent developments, I am interested in the following research questions: What is the appeal of black Republican candidates when compared to black Democratic candidates? Furthermore, what is the level of appeal of black female Republican candidates when compared to black male Republican candidates and black male and female Democratic candidates? Most black candidates and office holders identify with the Democratic Party and most black voters vote for Democratic candidates. Thus, it posits the puzzle of how voters perceive black Republican candidates in comparison to black Democratic candidates and whether gender plays a role in this perception. In response to this puzzle, I conducted an experiment of a fictitious black candidate running for statewide office, whose profile is varied only along party identification and gender cues. My findings illustrate that party and gender cues often intersect in the evaluation of black candidates. This study is timely and important as we consider how candidate evaluation studies treat race, gender, and political party variables.
Keywords: candidate evaluation studies, black candidates, poltiical party, gender
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