Date Approved

2020

Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Jeffrey L. Bernstein

Second Advisor

David Klein

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Race has always played a significant role in politics. Identifying what degree race and/or political party identification has will help to further determine and explain the outsized significance of these factors in modern American politics.

HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesized that a candidate's race would have a significant impact on the way that a voter votes. Based on a candidate’s initial appearance and biographer, a voter may prefer one candidate over another simply based on an isolated variable.

METHODS: For this study, we conducted two surveys through Amazon M Turk. We asked a series of questions based on two candidates of two racial backgrounds as well as two different political identities. These surveys ultimately tested the relationship between the voter, voter perceptions and the candidate, based on two variables, race, and political identification.

RESULTS: Our initial hypothesis was not supported. We did not find significance between voter perception and race. Race was not a significant factor among voters. However, we did find a significant relationship between political identification and voter perception. From our data, a majority of respondents were much more likely to respond to candidates that were of the same political identification, rather than race.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that political identification is an important and overarching variable when it comes to voters and their candidates. However, voters may perceive a candidate to be a certain political identification based on their race.

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