Race, Ethnicity and Politics

Pandering Politics: Examining the effect of positive, explicit racial appeals on support for political candidates



Though we know that positive racial appeals have increased, it is still unclear whether and when they are considered credible to the target group. This leads to several questions: How do Black constituents respond when white politicians use positive explicit racial appeals? How does this differ from when white politicians use endorsements, rather than explicit appeals? Or when that explicit appeal is combined with an endorsement from a black elite? Focusing on black voters, we seek to understand the conditions under which “positive” explicit racial appeals for white politicians are successful in gaining support. Using an original preregistered experiment on Black Americans, we find that, both positive, explicit appeals to the Black community and receiving endorsements from Black elites increase the white politician’s ratings relative to the control condition. However, we do not find evidence that an endorsement from a Black elite is necessary to facilitate an increase in support.


Thumbnail image of Positive_ExpAppeals_WP.pdf


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