Racial Prejudice, Partisanship, and White Turnout in Elections with Black Candidates

Yanna Krupnikov, Spencer Piston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


How does racial prejudice affect White turnout in elections with Black candidates? Previous research, which largely focuses on the relationship between prejudice and vote choice, rarely examines the relationship between prejudice and turnout, leading to an incomplete picture of the impact of prejudice on the fate of Black candidates. In this project, we examine a key condition under which partisanship and partisan strength moderate the effect of prejudice on electoral behavior. Specifically, we argue that when a prejudiced strong partisan shares the partisanship of a Black candidate, she is likely to experience a decision conflict—prejudice and partisanship point in opposing directions—increasing the likelihood that she stays home on Election Day. We test this argument through observational analyses of the 2008 presidential election. Our findings illuminate an additional barrier to Black electoral representation: racial prejudice undermines Black candidates’ efforts to mobilize strong partisans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-418
Number of pages22
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 26 2015


  • Elections
  • Partisan strength
  • Partisanship
  • Prejudice
  • Race
  • Turnout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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