Implicit race attitudes predicted vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election
Posted by projectimplicit on November 28, 2009
An article by Project Implicit researchers published this month in Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy reports evidence that both implicit and explicit race attitudes were related to intended vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. 1,057 registered voters completed a study conducted at Project Implicit’s research website during the week before the presidential election. The participants completed multiple measures of racial attitudes including self-reported feelings of warmth toward Blacks and Whites, a measure of “symbolic” racism, two implicit measures of racial attitudes – a Brief version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and the Affective Misattribution Procedure (AMP), and reported their intended vote. Analyses suggested that participants who showed strong implicit and self-reported favoring of Whites compared to Blacks were also more likely to intend to vote for John McCain instead of Barack Obama. Collectively, the four race attitude measures accounted for 21% of the variation in intended vote. Further, after including liberalism-conservatism that is a (strong) predictor of vote and related to race attitudes, the race attitude measures still predicted 2% (p-value = 10e-24) of voting intention variance. Also, implicit and self-reported racial attitude measures each contributed unique predictive validity of intended vote. Of course, like any study of these relations, the data are correlational leaving open the possibility of unseen third-variables that are determinants of both racial attitudes and intended vote. However, in the absence of plausible alternative accounts, these results strongly suggest that race attitudes played a role in determining the 2008 Presidential vote.