The indirect effects of discredited stereotypes in judgments of jewish leaders

Adam J. Berinsky, Tali Mendelberg

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Can stereotypes of ethnic groups have an indirect impact on voters' judgments even if voters reject them We examine the case of Jewish leaders and hypothesize that acceptable political stereotypes (Jews are liberal) are linked in voters' minds to unacceptable social stereotypes (Jews are shady); consequently, a cue to the candidate's shadiness works indirectly by increasing the perception that the candidate is liberal, even as the shady cue is rejected. Using three national survey-experiments we randomly varied a candidate's Jewish identity, ideology, and shadiness. The cue to the rejected social stereotype indeed activates the more legitimate political stereotype. Moreover, voters give more weight to the candidate's perceived liberalism in their evaluation. Consequently, the candidate's support suffers. However, when the candidate takes a more extreme ideological position on issues, the effects disappear. The indirect influence of discredited stereotypes and the limits of those stereotypes have implications for our understanding of voting and of the legacies of discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-864
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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