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Pursuing a more equitable political representation of a country's demographics is essential both as a matter of principle and pragmatism (i.e., realpolitik). As such, the goal of the present study was to replicate and expand on research on the impact of voter race/ethnicity and ideology on voting behaviors and interpersonal judgments of political candidates of color from different racial and ethnic groups. After participants (N = 282) saw the same political candidate of color (randomly assigned to identify as Mexican American vs. African American), we assessed interpersonal judgments and behaviors (e.g., expertise, voting intentions), perceived Americanness, and memory for skin tone of the candidate. In support of hypotheses and previous research/theory, white voters expressed more positive interpersonal judgments toward the African American political candidate and rated him to be more American than the Mexican American political candidate. We expanded upon previous research by directly testing the role of perceived Americanness in the differential judgments of political candidates’ race/ethnicity by white voters, with evidence supporting partial mediation. Our findings further showed that judgments toward a political candidate of color were also predicted by voters’ political affiliation. Specifically, conservative (vs. liberal) voters generally expressed less positive interpersonal judgments toward the candidates of color and perceived them to be less American and patriotic. Ramifications related to these findings are discussed.


This article was originally published in Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy


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