(please contact me for copies)

  • Respectability politics, assimilation, 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.
  • 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.