Well, At Least Weiner’s Got That Going for Him….

More timely political science research on the consequences of political sex scandals: Adam Berinsky, Vincent Hutchings, Tali Mendelberg, Lee Shaker, and Nicholas Valentino have an article ( gated ; ungated) in the current issue of Political Behavior that explores the relationship between a politician’s race and citizens’ reactions to sex scandals. Here’s the abstract:

A growing body of work suggests that exposure to subtle racial cues prompts white voters to penalize black candidates, and that the effects of these cues may influence outcomes indirectly via perceptions of candidate ideology. We test hypotheses related to these ideas using two experiments based on national samples. In one experiment, we manipulated the race of a candidate (Barack Obama vs. John
Edwards) accused of sexual impropriety. We found that while both candidates suffered from the accusation, the scandal led respondents to view Obama as more liberal than Edwards, especially among resentful and engaged whites. Second, overall evaluations of Obama declined more sharply than for Edwards. In the other experiment, we manipulated the explicitness of the scandal, and found that implicit cues were more damaging for Obama than explicit ones.

Looks very interesting, although John Edwards in a sex scandal seems like a bit of a stretch to me…

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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Joshua Tucker

Joshua Tucker is a Professor of Politics at New York University.