Citizens are asked to make many judgments in politics, often in the face of scarce information and limited motivation. In making political judgments, citizens may rely upon a variety of cues, including the partisanship, ethnicity, race, or sex of candidates. Some cues, however, are more democratically troublesome than others. Democratic norms of equality suggest that attitudes towards racial or ethnic groups should not influence citizens’ evaluations of candidates. Often, however, attitudes towards these groups do matter. This article identifies a limiting condition on the effect of group attitudes: the presence of a party cue. I demonstrate that attitudes towards Hispanics influence willingness to support a Hispanic candidate, but only in the absence of a party cue. The article also contributes to existing work by analyzing both explicit and implicit measures of attitudes towards groups. Explicit measures include stereotypes and feeling thermometers; implicit measures are derived from a subliminal priming task. Subjects with positive attitudes towards Hispanics (whether these attitudes were measured implicitly or explicitly) were more likely to support the Hispanic candidate, in the absence of party cues. Subjects with negative attitudes towards Hispanics were less likely to support the Hispanic candidate, in the absence of party cues. The presence of party cues, however, eliminates the impact of attitudes towards Hispanics on political choice.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 28, 2007
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