Title

Rendering the Implicit Explicit: Political Advertisements, Partisan Cues, Race, and White Public Opinion in the 2012 Presidential Election

Publication Date

2016

Document Type

Article

Abstract

In The Race Card (2001), Tali Mendelberg claims that once the racial content of an implicit racial appeal has been exposed the appeal loses its ability to mobilize voters. In this paper, we investigate this claim by employing a survey experiment embedded in Amazon's Mechanical Turk in which respondents view Mitt Romney's “Right Choice” television ad on welfare and then read a short op-ed. The op-ed, written by a fictitious member of Congress whose partisanship was systematically varied, argues that the Romney ad (1) is racist or (2) has no racial undertones. In line with Mendelberg's predictions, we find that – regardless of the partisanship of the elite in question – exposure to an op-ed that denounces the Romney welfare advertisement as racist leads white Democrats and Republicans to more strongly perceive the advertisement as racist and express greater opposition to Romney's campaign. Our findings contribute to the literatures on racial priming and partisan motivated reasoning, and also make a strong case for further evaluating the influence of political leadership on racial attitudes.

Original Citation

Nteta, T.M., Lisi, R., & Tarsi, M.R. (2016). Rendering the Implicit Explicit: Political Advertisements, Partisan Cues, Race, and White Public Opinion in the 2012 Presidential Election. Politics Groups and Identities, 4(1), 1-29. https://doi.org/10.1080/21565503.2015.1050407