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Public Opinion Quarterly Advance Access

Published: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 05:55:10 GMT


The Racial Double Standardattributing Racial Motivations in Voting Behavior

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

In the wake of the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, political observers were quick to assert that Barack Obama won the African American vote because he was Black, and more generally, that African Americans were motivated by race above all other considerations. As this racial reductionist stereotype has the potential to trivialize African Americans’ voting behavior and diminish the significance of the election of Barack Obama, this research examined how much support exists for the stereotype. We also examined whether a racial double standard motivates the application of this stereotype, and if so, the degree to which it is grounded in a broader antipathy toward Blacks. Several experiments embedded in two large national public opinion surveys show that there is indeed a racial double standard in the application of the racial reductionist stereotype; moreover, the attribution is connected to racial resentment.

Misinformation or Expressive Responding?What an inauguration crowd can tell us about the source of political misinformation in surveys

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

The public’s party-driven misinformation and misperceptions about politics has drawn a great deal of attention from scholars over the past decade. While much of this research assumes that the misinformation documented by survey researchers is an accurate reflection of what individuals truly believe, other scholars have suggested that individuals intentionally and knowingly provide misinformation to survey researchers as a way of showing support for their political side. To date, it has been difficult to adjudicate between these two contrasting explanations for misperceptions. However, in this note, we provide such a test. We take advantage of a controversy regarding the relative sizes of crowds at the presidential inaugurations of Donald Trump in 2017 and Barack Obama in 2009 to ask a question where the answer is so clear and obvious to the respondents that nobody providing an honest response should answer incorrectly. Yet, at the same time, the question taps into a salient political controversy that provides incentives for Trump supporters to engage in expressive responding. We find clear evidence of expressive responding; moreover, this behavior is especially prevalent among partisans with higher levels of political interest. Our findings provide support for the notion that at least some of the misinformation reported in surveys is the result of partisan cheerleading rather than genuinely held misperceptions.