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Loepp, Eric (2015) CONFLICTING CUES: THE ROLE OF RACE, GENDER, AND POLICY INFORMATION IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation is fundamentally concerned with how individuals use information cues during primary elections to evaluate and select among a field of candidates all belonging to the same political party. When partisan heuristic cues – well-established as the most critical determinant of vote choice – are effectively held constant, voters are expected to turn to other easily accessible information about candidates in order to sort them and identify the most suitable option. This project assesses one such type of information – the demographic status of candidates. Primary voters are expected to (1) prefer the most ideologically proximate candidate as their preferred party nominee and (2) employ ideological stereotypes embedded in demographic cues to help subtype and sort their primary options. Primary candidates, on the other hand, should appeal to different subgroups of voters via ideological signals embedded in policy messages presented to voters. Moreover, since certain primary candidates are considered counterstereotypical – not striking voters as typical demographic groups associated with particular parties – there are also possible gains and losses for candidates based purely on their demographic status and not merely the ideological tone of their messages. The interaction of different types of information should generate different preferences for various types of voters in primary elections. The first two chapters discuss demographic trends across America’s main political parties, discuss the void in the literature related to intra-party decision-making, and present a theory related to how both candidate and voter characteristics condition evaluations in a primary context. A third chapter details two survey experiments – a low-information setting and a high-information setting – that are fielded to test theoretical expectations. Chapters Four through Six present the results of the two studies. A concluding chapter summaries the findings and integrates this work into the larger literature on cue use in an electoral context. I also discuss limits of the current project and specify a series of steps to more thoroughly probe the issues initially tested in this dissertation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Loepp, Eric
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairHurwitz, Jon
Committee CoChairKanthak, Kristin
Committee MemberWoon, Jon
Committee MemberShineman, Victoria
Committee MemberHughes, Melanie
Date: 27 September 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 July 2015
Approval Date: 27 September 2015
Submission Date: 17 August 2015
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 255
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: race, gender, parties, primaries, ideology
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2015 21:49
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2016 05:15


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