Do Identity Frames Impact Support for Multiracial Candidates? The Case of Kamala Harris
Journal of Experimental Political Science, forthcoming
51 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2020 Last revised: 6 Feb 2022
Date Written: August 28, 2020
The number of multiracial candidates seeking office is growing in an increasingly diverse America. This raises questions about how the media frame candidates with potentially complex racial backgrounds and how voters respond to these frames. We investigate the impact of media frames that emphasize race and gender attributes using survey experiments on Kamala Harris---the first Black woman and first Asian woman vice president. Our findings are mixed. In a survey experiment conducted after her nomination, headlines emphasizing different elements of Harris's race or gender had no impact on public attitudes. In an experiment conducted after Harris was inaugurated, however, headlines that cued her gender only or both her gender and her Black racial background boosted popular support. Taken together, these findings suggest that some types of identity-based cues may matter, but the effects are sensitive to experimental settings and contexts.
Keywords: identity politics, media frames, multiracial, race, gender
JEL Classification: C91, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation