Although record turnout in the 2008 election is primarily credited to Obama’s candidacy, did the presence of black elected officials in the state legislature play a role in mobilizing black voters? Did patterns of mobilization differ among black voters? Using the 2008 American National Election Study that I merged with contextual data, I find that disengaged black voters in states with a greater number of black state legislators, or what I refer to as collective descriptive representation, were more likely to be contacted, and as a result, were more likely to vote. On the other hand, neither collective descriptive representation nor being contacted influenced the political behavior of engaged black voters. This suggests that in 2008, descriptive representation and experiencing contact mattered more for mobilizing disengaged black voters than for mobilizing engaged black voters.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 21, 2013
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