The Relationship Between Campaign Negativity, Gender and Campaign Context

The Relationship Between Campaign Negativity, Gender and Campaign Context Are female candidates disproportionately punished for relying on negative campaign ads? While scholars agree that sponsoring negativity works against traditional gender stereotypes, it is less clear how relying on negativity affects voter evaluations of female candidates. In this manuscript we reconsider the relationship between candidate gender and negativity. Relying on theories of conditional stereotype use, we argue that negative ads translate to significantly poorer evaluations for the female candidate when two conditions are met: (1) the female candidate is perceived as the instigator of negativity and (2) she is of a different party than the voter. We test our predictions using an experiment and show that female candidates only face a disproportionate punishment for relying on negativity under our two specific conditions. In contrast, voters are much more forgiving when they believe that a female candidate simply followed her opponent’s lead in using negative ads or when negativity is used to promote the voter’s party. While our research suggests that—compared to their male counterparts—female candidates do face some added constraints, our findings have broader implications. Not only are voters more or less likely to use gender stereotypes under certain conditions, but these conditions are highly dependent on the campaign context. Political Behavior Springer Journals

The Relationship Between Campaign Negativity, Gender and Campaign Context

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Springer US
Copyright © 2013 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Social Sciences, general; Political Science, general; Sociology, general
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