(please contact me for copies)

  • Political Distinctiveness and Diversity among LGBT Americans. (2019).
    • Abstract
      Largely due to data limitations, political science has routinely overlooked lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) identities in its analyses of public opinion. In this paper I draw on several large-N survey samples to show that this omission has obscured both the distinctiveness of LGBT Americans and the diversity within the LGBT coalition. LGBT respondents are distinctively liberal — on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and also in their broader political predispositions. At the same time, there is substantial diversity within the coalition: bisexual and transgender Americans are substantially less liberal than their lesbian and gay coalition-mates. Preliminary analysis suggests that this is in part due to their weaker sense of LGBT identity and linked fate. Given these findings, political science should regularly incorporate measures of LGBT identity into their analyses, alongside race, gender, class, and other politically-salient identities. 
  • Respectability politics and straight support for LGBTQ rights. (2019).
    • Abstract
      The modern LGBTQ movement has emphasized the extent to which its members adhere to heteronormative expectations in the hopes this will lead to increased support from straight people. But does this strategy actually lead to majority approval for minority rights? I draw on an experiment embedded in a module of the 2018 CCES. Respondents were shown a (fictitious) news story about gay men suing a local business owner for denial of service. The plaintiffs were portrayed either as conforming to mainstream norms (two people in a monogamous relationship) or violating them (three people in an open relationship). The results are striking: the men’s relationship structure had no effect on straight respondents’ likelihood of supporting their case, viewing them empathetically, or favoring LGBTQ rights in general. This suggests that emphasizing how LGBTQ relationships are “just like” straight people’s may not be necessary to win their support, and has broader implications for minority group strategies that are rooted in respectability politics.
  • Understanding the Role of Gender: Experience with Discrimination, Perceptions of Difference, and the Importance of Gender Conformity on Public Support for Transgender Identity and Societal Acceptance. (2019, with Amy B. Becker).
    • Abstract
      Analyzing data from the Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel (N = 4,573; August-September 2017), the study considers the influence of experience with gender discrimination, perceptions of gender differences between men and women, and the personal importance of gender conformity on support for transgender identity and opinions toward the state of societal acceptance of transgender individuals. While controlling for demographics, political and religious predispositions, values, and social contact, the results suggest that those who have experienced gender discrimination are more likely to support transgender identity and the argument that society has not gone far enough in terms of transgender acceptance. These individuals exhibit group empathy, and are primed to express solidarity and a shared experience with their transgender counterparts. In contrast, those who perceive that men and women are significantly different with respect to gender and those who indicate that gender conformity is personally important to them are less likely to accept transgender identity and also less likely support further acceptance of transgender individuals in society. The implications of these findings are discussed given the increasingly polarized political climate surrounding transgender rights and issues.
  • Racial resentment, partisan identity, and public opinion about voter fraud. (2017).
    • Abstract
      Despite a lack of evidence, the belief that voting fraud is common is widespread and support for requiring voters to show identification (ID) at the polls is high. Observers point to Americans’ racial and partisan predispositions as explanations, viewing support as reflective of Whites’ resentment toward minorities and/or Republicans’ desire to prevent likely Democrats from voting. In this study, I attempt to disentangle these two effects with a survey experiment that primes racial and partisan considerations. Non-Hispanic White respondents were exposed to an image of campaign activists that varied by both race (White vs. non-White) and party (Democrats vs. Republicans) before answering questions about voter fraud. Neither belief in the prevalence of fraud nor support for voter ID laws varied significantly by the image respondents were exposed to. There is some evidence that racial resentment moderates the effect, such that racially resentful Whites see fraud as more common when exposed to images of non-White Democrats. However, for the most part, there are few differences across conditions. I conclude by considering some potential explanations for these null results.
  • Challenger quality and democratic accountability. (2016).
    • Abstract
      Scholars frequently suggest that high-quality challengers foster greater accountability in congressional elections: more experienced candidates should better educate the public about the incumbent’s record and encourage them to punish her for any “out of step” votes. To test these assumptions, I match survey data from the 2006–2010 U.S. Senate elections with multiple measures of challenger quality. The results show no effect of challenger quality on what constituents know about the incumbent’s record or how well they hold her accountable for it. The presence of high-quality candidates thus appears less critical for democratic accountability than many assume.