When Can Exemplars Shape White Racial Attitudes? Evidence from the 2012 U.S. Presidential Campaign
51 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 17, 2018
Prior research finds that exposure to outgroup exemplars reduces prejudice, but it has focused on most-likely cases. We examine whether salient outgroup exemplars can reduce prejudice under more challenging conditions, such as when they are counter-stereotypical but not well-liked and the audience is heterogeneous and holds strong priors. Specifically, we assess the impact of the Obama exemplar under the less auspicious conditions of the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign. Using panel data, we find that racial prejudice declined during the campaign, especially among whites with the most exposure to Obama through political television. Liking Obama proved irrelevant to these effects, as did partisanship. Racial prejudice increased slightly after the campaign ended, but the effects remained largely intact weeks later.
Keywords: campaigns, exemplification, media effects, panel data, racial attitudes
JEL Classification: H00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation