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Does Gender Make a Difference? An Experimental Examination of Sex Stereotypes and Press Patterns in Statewide Campaigns

Kim Fridkin Kahn
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 162-195
DOI: 10.2307/2111340
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111340
Page Count: 34
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Does Gender Make a Difference? An Experimental Examination of Sex Stereotypes and Press Patterns in Statewide Campaigns
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Abstract

Do gender differences in news coverage and the candidates' sex influence people's perceptions of gubernatorial and senatorial candidates? To investigate this question, I conducted a series of experiments in which I manipulated both the type of coverage a candidate received and the candidate's sex. The results of these experiments suggest that people's perceptions of male and female candidates are influenced by patterns of news coverage and by people's sex stereotypes. Yet the impact of these two factors is different for incumbents and challengers and for gubernatorial and senatorial candidates. I find, for example, that gender differences in press coverage are more dramatic in Senate races and especially for Senate incumbents. These differences in coverage patterns lead to important disadvantages for female senatorial candidates. Sex stereotypes, on the other hand, always produce more positive evaluations of women candidates. These sex stereotypes are most prevalent for governors and lead to promising advantages in people's perceptions of female gubernatorial candidates.

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