When Does Race Matter? Exploring White Responses to Minority Congressional Candidates
33 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 19, 2015
How significant of a factor is race in minority candidate evaluation? I present theory of race and minority candidate evaluation which argues that candidate race acts as an informational heuristic that affects perceptions of a candidate's ideological leaning and competence but that this effect is dependent on contextual factors, including the racial group and candidate partisanship. Using the 2010 and 2012 Cooperative Congressional Elections Study, I provide an observational look at Latino and Asian candidates in addition to black candidates for the first time, as well as minority candidates of both partisan stripes. I examine voter perceptions about candidates that might drive their vote choice, namely ideological assessments and competence assessments. I find that white voters are less likely to support Latino and black Democrats because they are viewed as less competent and more ideologically extreme. I find that Asian candidates and minority Republicans are largely unaffected by these biases.
Keywords: Minority Candidates, Race and Ethnic Politics
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