Racial attitudes and visual cues in political judgments: Support for Obama during the 2008 presidential election

Tessa V. West, Adam R. Pearson, John F. Dovidio, Blair T. Johnson, Curtis E. Phills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present longitudinal study examined the complex role of race-including racial attitudes and visual representations of race-in White Americans' responses to Obama during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Consistent with prior research, participants who perceived Obama as darker skinned were less likely to vote for him and generally evaluated Obama less positively. It is important to note, however, that these effects were stronger among Whites with more egalitarian expressed racial attitudes. Moreover, this pattern occurred over and above effects of political orientation and remained stable over a 2-month period, including pre- and postelection. Implications of these findings for understanding the complex and persistent influence of race in politics are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-590
Number of pages8
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Obama
  • Phenotypicality
  • Political orientation
  • Skin-tone bias
  • Voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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