The Role of an African-American Candidate on Psychological Engagement and Political Discussion in a Local Election Academic Article uri icon


  • There have been numerous studies of AfricanAmerican political participation, but little research investigating the effect of AfricanAmerican candidates on political discussion. This is surprising, given the importance of political discussion in democratic theory and the increased attention it has received in the literature. We address this gap by examining the effect of a successful AfricanAmerican Democratic candidate on psychological engagement and political discussion in a majority white, majority Republican local election in the Deep South. Our findings reveal a paradoxAfricanAmerican voters paid more attention to the election and reported being more informed and more satisfied with the candidates, but were less likely to have discussed the election. The negative effect of race was less than in other concurrent races, indicating that the presence of an AfricanAmerican candidate may limit but not erase participation differentials in political discussion.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Sullivan, J. M., Major, L. H., Goidel, K., & Kurpius, D.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Sullivan, Jas M||Major, Lesa Hatley||Goidel, Kirby||Kurpius, David

publication date

  • April 2009