How Candidate Race Conditions Voter Responses to Negative Ads

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Principal investigator:

Yanna Krupnikov

Northwestern University

Email: yanna.krupnikov@northwestern.edu

Homepage: http://www.yannakrupnikov.com/


Sample size: 1200

Field period: 12/09/2011-04/10/2012

Hypotheses
H1: White voters with negative racial attitudes are more likely to punish Black candidates who go negative than White candidates who go negative.
H2: White voters with positive racial attitudes are less likely to punish Black candidates who go negative than White candidates who go negative.
Experimental Manipulations
1. Race of attacking candidate
2. Race of target candidate

Outcomes
Evaluations of candidates and attributions of behavior.

Summary of Results
We find that White voters with negative racial attitudes are more likely to punish Black candidates who go negative. We observe this through declining evaluations of Black candidates who attack, but increasing evaluations of White targets of attacks. We also observe that White voters with negative racial attitudes attribute negativity by Black candidates to dispositional factors, but negativity by White candidates to situational factors.