President Obama’s historic status as the nation’s first African American president has led to a “spillover” of racialization in the form of a strengthened relationship between racial attitudes and beliefs and judgments about policies he is associated with. We argue that even basic perceptions of the fairness of the presidential election became racialized in 2008 and 2012. Consistent with this, data from two national surveys revealed that Whites high in racial resentment and racial-stereotype endorsement were less likely to believe the 2008 and 2012 elections were conducted fairly, especially among those for whom the election result was unwelcome, that is, Republicans and conservatives. We find that this result is specific to years that Obama was on the ballot, suggesting a unique role for Obama’s candidacy in boosting the impact of racial attitudes and beliefs.
- public opinion
- racial attitudes