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The Impact of Race and Ideology on Voting: Does Race Still Matter?

Ueda, Michiko (2008) The Impact of Race and Ideology on Voting: Does Race Still Matter? Social Science Working Paper, 1283. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Why do barriers to minority legislative representation persist? This paper asks to what extent low levels of black office-holding are attributable to purely candidate race alone, as opposed to candidate ideology. Using a unique data set that contains information on candidates’ ideological positions coupled with extensive individual voting data, the paper tests whether candidate race exerts an independent and significant influence on vote choice that cannot be explained away by candidate ideology. Estimating a model of individual vote choice, I find that candidate race is largely irrelevant for most white voters when the effects of candidate ideology are taken into account. This is especially the case when the ideological distance between two candidates is large. It implies that when candidates are ideologically distinct, voters are unlikely to cross their party line to support a candidate whom they would not normally support, regardless of their willingness to vote for a black candidate. However, when candidates are ideologically close, white voters are more likely to vote for a white candidate who is pitted against a black candidate. Similarly, I find that the race of candidates works as a strong negative cue for white voters with no party affiliations. This suggests that white voters are likely to use candidate race as a voting cue when the party cue is absent or weak.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:I would like to thank Steve Ansolabehere, Jim Snyder and Charles Stewart for NPAT data, Ebonya Washington for sharing her data on candidate race (1996 and 1998), and Paul Herrnson and Kelly Patterson for providing me with Congressional district information for the 1998 VNS Exit Poll data, which was omitted from the second ICPSR version.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1283
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170728-143605015
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:79552
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:02 Aug 2017 18:49
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:21

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