Introduction: In American society various social and antipoverty policies remain highly controversial among American voters. As one might expect, the relevance of race in relation to such policies can also be quite controversial. Incorporated within this research is an investigation of political attitudes and policy preferences of American voters. Using a variety of dependent variables, I gauge the effects of respondents’ race, ideology and party identification on policy preferences and other behavior patterns as they relate to political preferences. This measure of attitudes will contribute to a further understanding of race, social and antipoverty policies, and the ways in which these variables interact within the American political system. Both affirmative action and welfare spending are hot-button political topics among both white and black Americans, though not necessarily for the same reasons. Affirmative action programs tend to lack the support of white voters, as a vast majority of white Americans believe that preferential treatment of minorities is unfair to whites (Swain, 2006). In opposition, as beneficiaries, black voters are more likely to be supportive of such policies. Overall, blacks also tend to be more favorable of redistributive programs than whites; this means that there exists a higher likelihood that black voters will be supportive of social initiatives that include efforts such as increasing state welfare spending than will white voters (Swain, 2006). In addition to further understanding policy preferences, Americans’ overall perceptions on candidate electability are also worth additional investigation when attempting to gauge the effects of race on political processes. Not only are racial differences significant in terms of their impact on formal political participation within the American political system, but these differences are also closely intertwined with the distribution of power in the United States (Dalton & Klingemann, 2007). Therefore, I conduct further analyses regarding the likelihood of white voters to display racial resentment attitudes and assign positive traits to minority candidates for office.
Melinda Tarsi (Thesis Director)
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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Stoltz, Femi. (2016). The American Electorate in Black & White: A Measure of Candidate Selection and Policy Preferences. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 139. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/139
Copyright © 2016 Femi Stoltz