Evaluations of presidential performance: Race, prejudice, and perceptions of Americanism

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Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, ISSN: 0022-1031, Vol: 47, Issue: 2, Page: 430-435

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Eric Hehman; Samuel L. Gaertner; John F. Dovidio
Elsevier BV
Psychology; Social Sciences
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article description
Earlier research suggests that despite President Obama's election, racial prejudice persists and continues to shape reactions to his presidency. The current work examines the role of Whites’ prejudice in shaping perceptions of Obama's Americanism, and ultimately evaluations of his performance. Specifically, this research proposes that “how American” Obama is perceived will mediate the relationship between racial prejudice and evaluations of his performance for White, but not Black participants and only for Obama and not for Vice-President Biden. Data were collected from 295 Black or White students surveyed 1 year after Obama's election. Supportive of our hypotheses, racial prejudice predicted Whites’ negative evaluations of Obama's performance, and this relationship was mediated by how American Obama was perceived. Additionally, these relationships were not obtained among Black participants or when Blacks or Whites evaluated the Americanism and job performance of Vice-President Biden.