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When Gender and Party Collide: Stereotyping in Candidate Trait Attribution

  • Danny Hayes (a1)
Abstract

Research has shown that voters are willing to stereotype candidates on the basis of their gender, which can sometimes pose obstacles and sometimes prove advantageous for female politicians. But the literature is uncertain about how candidate gender interacts with candidate party affiliation to shape voters' perceptions. In this article, I draw on political psychology, the women and politics literature, and recent work on partisan “trait ownership” to suggest that the application of gender stereotypes will be limited by the salience of partisan stereotypes. I use nationally representative survey data and a content analysis of news coverage from the 2006 U.S. Senate elections to test the argument. Focusing on voter evaluations of candidate traits, I find that party stereotypes are more powerful than gender stereotypes, and that assessments of candidate attributes can be affected by news coverage when candidates are portrayed in ways that challenge traditional partisan images. The results suggest that gender stereotyping is limited by the relevance of party stereotypes, and that as the Republican and Democratic parties continue to polarize at the elite level, the importance of partisan stereotyping is likely to increase.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Larry M. Bartels 2002a. “The Impact of Candidate Traits in American Presidential Elections.” In Leaders' Personalities and the Outcomes of Democratic Elections, ed. Anthony King . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 4469.

Leonie Huddy , and Theresa Capelos . 2002. “Gender Stereotyping and Candidate Evaluation: Good News and Bad News for Women Politicians.” In The Social Psychology of Politics, ed. Victor C. Ottati , R. Scott Tindale , John Edwards , Fred B. Bryant , Linda Health , Daniel C. O'Connell , Yolanda Suarez-Balzacar , and Emil J. Posavac . New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum, 2953.

Jennifer L. Lawless , and Richard L. Fox . 2010. It Still Takes a Candidate. New York: Cambridge University Press.

John. Zaller 1992. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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Politics & Gender
  • ISSN: 1743-923X
  • EISSN: 1743-9248
  • URL: /core/journals/politics-and-gender
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