Colorado Independent: Inserting race into the election? It’s all in your head

Colorado Independent (9/19/08)

Inserting race into the election? It’s all in your head

A psychological study finds there is substance to what “black art” campaign operatives have attempted to do in using race as a wedge issue with voters.

The report published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology turns the conventional wisdom of like-minded racial and ethnic group identity — “who you are” — on its head to explore how important “who you are not” is in voting preferences.

Ars Technica explores it further:

During the Democratic primaries, there were indications that, among the social variables, race was an important factor. Asian and Latino voters preferred Hillary Clinton, but Black voters heavily supported Barack Obama.

Between October 16 and December 17, 2007, the psychologists asked Asian and Latino undergraduate student volunteers to think and write about how being in their minority group shaped their lives in the United States (the affirmational condition). They then asked another set of Asian and Latino volunteers to concentrate and write about how being “not Caucasian” affected their lives (the negational condition). Once the writing was done, they asked the participants to pick either Obama or Clinton as if they were voting for the Democratic primary right at that moment.

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