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New York University
Stephen Maynard Caliendo
North Central College
Sample size: 236
Field period: 1/25/2010-4/6/2010
Respondents were randomly assigned a racist message or non-racial message
Intention to Vote
Contrary to our expectations, when exposed to an advertisement containing a racist appeal by a white candidate, running against a Black opponent, white participants did not differ significantly from those in the control group in terms of their likelihood to vote or their feelings about the candidate. Instead, the strongest predictor of participants' vote choice or candidate feeling was whether they believed a candidate appealed to race. Those who believed the white candidate appealed to race were less inclined to vote for him and felt less strongly than those who did not. As well, those who perceived that the black candidate appealed to race (despite the presence of only a non-racist message in the ad by the black candidate).
Similar results were seen among white participants who viewed ads from two black candidates. Again, the belief among participants that one or the other candidate appealed to race was the strongest predictor of participants' candidate evaluations. Those viewing the ad by the candidate appealing to racial authenticity viewed him more negatively and expressed a significantly less likelihood to vote for him than the black candidate who did not appeal to race. Yet again, some participants perceived that the black candidate who did not appeal to race, in fact did.
McIlwain, Charlton D. & Caliendo, Stephen M. (2011). Race Appeal: How Candidates Invoke Race in U.S. Political Campaigns. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.