Too Liberal to Win? Race and Voter Perceptions of Candidate Ideology Academic Article uri icon


  • Experimental research has long indicated that minority candidates are perceived as being more liberal than Whites. These expectations may hinder the electoral prospects of minority candidates campaigning for office who need the support of independents to win. Drawing upon a unique dataset of 933 informants (party delegates) and survey data from the 2006 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we investigate the accuracy and implications of these race-based stereotypes for voting in the U.S. House of Representatives. Our analysis indicates that ethnic and racial minority candidates for Congress are typically viewed by voters as being far more liberal than objective indicators would suggest. Moreover, we find that these misperceptions of ideological extremity may harm minorities electoral chances at the ballot box, limiting their support among White voters, particularly independents. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for candidates campaigning for office.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 11.93

author list (cited authors)

  • Fulton, S. A., & Gershon, S. A.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Fulton, Sarah A||Gershon, Sarah Allen

publication date

  • September 2018