Identifier

etd-04262011-131328

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The 2008 Presidential Election brought into office the first African-American president in U.S. history. This paper analyzes variations in White support for Barack Obama based on a number of county-level contextual factors, which are hypothesized to influence aggregate White voter support for the Democratic candidate. Based on the well-known racial threat theory, this paper will explore how racial composition and income inequality effect White support for Barack Obama. Another key explanatory variable, violence, is thought to influence White voter support because of the preconceptions some of these voters hold about African-Americans. Violence helps shape the stereotypes White voters hold, and these stereotypes are not left behind when entering the voting booth. If violence helps explain variation in county-level White support for Barack Obama, this paper offers preliminary evidence that stereotypes about violence may have a significant influence on voting and African-American candidate strategies may not have the sway necessary to overcome some of these barriers in the electoral arena.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Sullivan, Jas

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