When Racism and Sexism Benefit Black and Female Politicians: Politicians’ Ideology Moderates Prejudice’s Effect More than Politicians’ Demographic Background
Bai, H., When Racism and Sexism Benefit Black and Female Politicians: Politicians’ Ideology Moderates Prejudice’s Effect More than Politicians’ Demographic Background. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
85 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2020 Last revised: 28 May 2020
Date Written: May 12, 2020
Using large samples that are nationally diverse or nationally representative (total N=44,836), this paper presents evidence that citizens’ prejudice does not usually benefit or undermine politicians who are from a particular demographic group, as many past studies assumed; instead, citizens’ prejudice is associated with support for conservative politicians and opposition to liberal politicians, regardless of politicians’ demographic background. Study 1a and Study 1b show that, regardless of the race and gender of real politicians, racism and sexism negatively predict support for liberal politicians, and positively predict support for conservative politicians. This overall pattern is experimentally confirmed in Study 2 where participants evaluate a hypothetical politician. Using data collected between 1972 and 2016, Study 3 shows that, historically, the predictive effect of racism and sexism on support for politicians in general is moderated by politicians’ perceived ideology. Study 4 addresses a limitation of Study 1-Study 3, and Study 5 extends the results for prejudice to the religious domain (i.e., prejudice towards Muslims). Together, these studies suggest that the way prejudice is related to support for a politician is primarily moderated by the politician’s political ideology, not the politician’s demographic background. Thus, this paper highlights the often-overlooked role of politicians’ ideology, clarifying theories that explain how citizens’ prejudice is translated into their political preferences.
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