This article examines the impact of candidate race and campaign negativity on candidate evaluations and turnout. Unlike previous research, we argue that candidate race and campaign negativity should be considered simultaneously. In order to test this argument, we conduct a survey experiment of a nationally representative sample of White adults and a replication study. While we find, consistent with previous research, that respondents unfavorably evaluate candidates who decide to sponsor a negative ad, there are two important exceptions to this pattern: When the ad sponsor is Black, among White respondents who view Blacks negatively, the penalty for going negative is disproportionately large, while among White respondents who view Blacks positively, the penalty for going negative is disproportionately small. More generally, our findings suggest that the effects of candidate attributes and campaign strategy on voter behavior should not be considered in isolation, as they are mutually reinforcing.
- campaign advertising
- candidate evaluation
- voter behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science