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Food for Thought w/ Prof. Gross

Join us in the Club Room on Friday, October 20th from 12-1 for a Food for Thought with Prof Gross! Prof. Gross will be giving a brief talk over a catered lunch. Make sure to RSVP to save your seat (and your sandwich!). More information about the talk is below:

Framing Effects from Racialized Partisanship in Election News

Considerable attention has been paid to the use of racial appeals by political candidates. Far less attention has been given to the ways in which typical campaign news coverage may also serve to prime racial predispositions and influence evaluations.  In this talk, I will discuss how journalists’ tendency to focus on the “horserace” when covering elections often serves to highlight partisan divides between identity groups and I will explore the potential effects of this type of coverage.  The electoral success of today’s Democratic Party depends on a multiracial coalition with large vote shares among African Americans, Latinos, and Asians.  Frames emphasizing the degree of support for the parties from racial and ethnic groups are quite common in election coverage, often emphasizing the large percentage of Democratic support among racial/ethnic minority voters (e.g. 93% of blacks vote Democrat, 39% whites).  How does such racialized news coverage of partisan divides affect voters’ views of the parties and evaluations of their candidates?  We draw on data from two original experiments that test whether the minority-Democrat emphasis of these large-percentage frames shift white voters’ views of parties and candidates more than smaller-percentage frames of minority votes within the Democratic coalition (e.g. 24% black, 57% white), and a race-neutral frame. We find the “minorities” emphasis improves Republican evaluations (and hurts Obama evaluations) among racially resentful whites. As demographic change motivates more stories about the growing electoral power of racial and ethnic minority voters, news may continue to shape racialized views of the parties through framing choices.