American Politics Workshop with Cheryl Boudreau
DateApril 27, 2015
Time4:00pm to 5:30pm
4357 Bunche Hall
Belinda SunnuPhone firstname.lastname@example.org
Presenter:Cheryl Boudreau, UC DavisTitle:”Racial or Spatial Voting? The Effects of Candidate Ethnicity and Ethnic Group Endorsements in Low-Information Elections”Abstract:Voters face difficult choices in elections where party labels do not distinguish the candidates’ ideological positions. In these contexts, racial/ethnic cues may help voters to choose ideologically-similar candidates (spatial voting), or make choices based on race/ethnicity (racial voting). In most elections, these behaviors are observationally equivalent because race/ethnicity and ideology are strongly correlated (i.e., minority candidates and voters are typically more liberal than whites). We disentangle racial and spatial voting by examining local elections where this is not the case. Using original surveys and exit polls, we create comparable measures of candidate and voter ideology and examine how race/ethnicity and ideology affect voters’ choices. We also embed experiments that manipulate ethnic group endorsements. We find that ideology powerfully shapes voters’ choices, but that ethnic group endorsements diminish spatial voting. We also show that co-ethnic voters react favorably to endorsements from their group, while whites’ reactions are driven by racial/ethnic stereotypes.About the Speaker:Cheryl Boudreau (Ph.D. 2007, UC San Diego) is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Davis. Prof. Boudreau’s research examines whether and when different types of political information help uninformed voters to make political decisions that improve their welfare. This information may come from trusted endorsers, encouraging citizens to vote for a particular candidate or initiative, or from politicians competing in a debate. Citizens may also rely on the statements their peers make during discussions, the opinions of the masses — as reflected in public opinion polls — or the detailed policy information contained in voter guides. Using laboratory and survey experiments, as well as observational studies, her research sheds light on when these different types of information help uninformed voters to behave as though they are more informed.
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