Dialing in and Drilling Down: Preliminary Findings of an Experimental Design Using Moment-to-Moment Technology to Capture Responses to Race-Based Campaign Communication
Posted: 24 Oct 2013
Date Written: October 23, 2013
Contemporary exploration of racial attitudes in the United States is complicated because of what Mendelberg (2001) referred to as the "norm of racial equality." Because Americans have explicit desires to not make judgments based on race and ethnicity, and because such racial beliefs are often subconscious, measuring the extent of racial associations, resentments, biases and prejudices is challenging. With respect to candidate evaluation and vote choice (and even more so since Barack Obama’s emergence on the national political stage), White Americans might especially be likely to believe that race is not a factor in their evaluation of non-White candidates. Our current study takes advantage of "moment-to-moment" technology, which allows participants to register their feelings (as opposed to thoughts) about stimuli on an intuitive response dial. Besides tapping into more affective components of evaluation than traditional post-stimulus instruments, this approach allows us to pinpoint what portions of a particular stimulus is responsible for changes in participant evaluation of the candidates. We employ a stimulus-post-test experimental design with campaign advertisements from the 2013 New York mayoral election to examine participant responses and correlate with more traditional survey items. Conclusions center on substantive findings related to candidate evaluation, and suggestions are made for future exploration.
Keywords: race, elections, politics, campaigns, advertisements, experiment, moment-to-moment
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