Saving Face: Identifying Voter Responses to Black Candidates and Female Candidates

Yanna Krupnikov, Spencer Piston, Nichole M. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Much of what we know about the responses of voters to Black candidates and female candidates comes from experimental research. Yet the accuracy of experimental data can be threatened by the possibility that social desirability pressures contaminate self-reporting. We address this threat in a project that considers psychological approaches to reducing social desirability pressures. Offering participants the opportunity to explain their decisions about sensitive subjects, such as voting for a Black or female candidate, can lessen social desirability pressures. We analyze this approach across three commonly used samples: undergraduate, adult convenienceand adult national. Our results suggest that existing experimental research overestimates voter support for Black and female candidates, but these issues can be mitigated with the simple innovation presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-273
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Black candidates
  • Experiments
  • Female candidates
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Social desirability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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