The Minimal Cue Hypothesis: How Black Candidates Cue Race to Increase White Voting Participation

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Abstract

Racial group interests can compete in politics. One way competition may occur is when Black candidates cue racial thinking among Whites, leading to rivalry at the ballot box. I address this hypothesis with theories of identity, affect, and racial cognition. I argue that Black Congressional candidates cue these factors among Whites, leading the factors of White racial prejudice and White race liberalism to impact Whites' voting participation. I employ logistic regression analysis of data from the American National Election Study in 1988, 1992, and 2000. The effects of racial prejudice on the predicted probability of voting occur among all Whites, as well as White Republicans, White Democrats, and White conservatives. The effects of White race liberalism occur among all Whites, as well as White Democrats and White liberals. The effects are strongest when Whites are in elections with Black candidates that are either challengers or in open seats.

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