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What's the Matter with Arkansas? Symbolic Racism and 2008 Presidential Candidate Support

PEARL K. FORD, ANGIE MAXWELL and TODD SHIELDS
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Vol. 40, No. 2, The 2008 Presidential Election, Part I (June 2010), pp. 286-302
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23044821
Page Count: 17
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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.
What's the Matter with Arkansas? Symbolic Racism and 2008 Presidential Candidate Support
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Abstract

The 2008 presidential election presented voters with the nation's first African American presidential candidate. Symbolic racism theory suggests that Obama's presence on the national ticket will activate a range of racial attitudes across the electorate. The authors examine two statewide surveys from Arkansas and Georgia in order to explore the importance of symbolic racism across different campaign contexts. The findings suggest that voting behavior was significantly influenced by symbolic racism. Consequently, the authors extend the symbolic racism literature by demonstrating the effects of these attitudes at the national level and across different campaign environments.

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