AUTHORS' NOTE: We thank Jason Barabas, Bill Berry, Jens Grosser, Christina Haynes, Bob Jackson, Jennifer Jerit, Patrick Mason, Cherie Maestas, Will Moore, Mark Souva, the anonymous reviewers, and the students in the Spring 2008 Honors Seminar on Racial Attitudes for their helpful comments.
Managing Monikers: The Role of Name Presentation in the 2008 Presidential Election
Version of Record online: 13 JUL 2010
© 2010 Center for the Study of the Presidency
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 40, Issue 3, pages 464–481, September 2010
How to Cite
BLOCK JR., R. and ONWUNLI, C. (2010), Managing Monikers: The Role of Name Presentation in the 2008 Presidential Election. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 40: 464–481. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2010.03781.x
- Issue online: 13 JUL 2010
- Version of Record online: 13 JUL 2010
Given America's widespread contempt for Islamic extremists, Obama's Muslim-sounding moniker could have cost him electoral support. Consequently, anecdotal evidence suggests that Obama played a “name game” in which he deflected suspicions about his religious background by avoiding use of his middle name (Hussein) and minimizing the frequency with which his opponents used it. Did the presentation of Obama's name affect how voters evaluated him? Results from a web-based experiment suggest that the answer varies by political orientation. Among Republicans and conservatives, Obama's favorability ratings are generally lower when his middle name is present. Name presentation had little effect on Democrats and liberals, and moderates and independents rated the president more favorably when his middle name appeared. Regardless of party identification or political ideology, name presentation had no effect on the probability of voting for Obama.