Racial Prejudice, Partisanship, and White Turnout
in Elections with Black Candidates
Published online: 9 March 2014
Ó Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
Abstract How does racial prejudice affect White turnout in elections with Black
candidates? Previous research, which largely focuses on the relationship between
prejudice and vote choice, rarely examines the relationship between prejudice and
turnout, leading to an incomplete picture of the impact of prejudice on the fate of
Black candidates. In this project, we examine a key condition under which parti-
sanship and partisan strength moderate the effect of prejudice on electoral behavior.
Speciﬁcally, we argue that when a prejudiced strong partisan shares the partisanship
of a Black candidate, she is likely to experience a decision conﬂict—prejudice and
partisanship point in opposing directions—increasing the likelihood that she stays
home on Election Day. We test this argument through observational analyses of the
2008 presidential election. Our ﬁndings illuminate an additional barrier to Black
electoral representation: racial prejudice undermines Black candidates’ efforts to
mobilize strong partisans.
Keywords Race Á Prejudice Á Partisanship Á Partisan strength Á Turnout Á
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11109-014-9268-2)
contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA
S. Piston (&)
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA
Polit Behav (2015) 37:397–418