When Can Exemplars Shape White Racial Attitudes? Evidence from the 2012 U.S. Presidential Campaign

51 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2018

See all articles by Seth Goldman

Seth Goldman

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Daniel J. Hopkins

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: October 17, 2018

Abstract

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

Goldman, Seth and Hopkins, Daniel J., When Can Exemplars Shape White Racial Attitudes? Evidence from the 2012 U.S. Presidential Campaign (October 17, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3268012 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3268012

Seth Goldman

University of Massachusetts Amherst ( email )

Amherst, MA 01003
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.umass.edu/communication/people/profile/seth-goldman

Daniel J. Hopkins (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.danhopkins.org

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