The Implications of Stereotypical News Primes on Evaluations of African American Political Candidates
AuthorKopacz, Maria Aleksandra
Committee ChairMastro, Dana
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe present study aimed at advancing our understanding of the effects that racially stereotypical media discourse has on White voters' responses to African American candidates in mixed-race elections. In particular, a causal model was proposed where the racial stereotypicality of news messages was predicted to interact with the race of political candidates and White news consumers' racial identification in affecting perceptions of candidates' leadership prototypicality. In turn, the prototypicality ratings were hypothesized to positively predict expectations of policy performance, candidate affect, and electoral support. In particular, it was predicted that White individuals exposed to racially stereotypical crime news would view African American candidates in unrelated stories as less leader-prototypical than White candidates and this effect was expected be stronger than among Whites exposed to non-stereotypical crime news or no crime news at all. This relationship was also predicted to increase as a function of White participants' racial ingroup identification.The findings from two experimental investigations offered limited support for the mediated model. The independent variables had weak and qualified effects on the prototypicality ratings. In addition, most of these effects worked in favor of, rather than to the disadvantage of the African American candidate. However, as hypothesized, prototypicality was a consistent predictor of electoral support, candidate affect, and, less so, policy performance expectations. Overall, these findings suggest that race matters in mass mediated political processes, both as a contextual factor and as a characteristic of electoral contenders.