The change we believe in: The role of socioeconomic conditions in evaluations of black political candidates
This research explores how poor socioeconomic conditions affect trait evaluations and support for Black political candidates compared to White candidates. Previous research finds that female leaders are perceived as more likely to bring change, which is desired under declining conditions, and typical preferences for male leaders are diminished during these periods (Brown et al., 2011). Extending this research, we examined how Black candidates, another politically underrepresented group, may also be linked with change and preferred under declining socioeconomic conditions. Specifically, stereotypes aligned Black candidates with change and White candidates with stability (Experiment 1). In a declining economy condition, a Black, as opposed to a White candidate, was preferred, with support mediated by change associations. In a stable socioeconomic condition, there were no differences in candidate support (Experiment 2). These results speak to the possibility that non-traditional candidates more generally trigger trait associations that advantage them under declining socioeconomic conditions.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Kelly, Brown, E. R., Diekman, A. B., & Schneider, M. C. (2018). The change we believe in: The role of socioeconomic conditions in evaluations of black political candidates. Electoral Studies, 54, 254–260. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2018.04.008