Date

2016

Department or Program

Economics

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Kyung H. Park

Abstract

After the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, many have begun to doubt the continued relevance of candidate race in voter behavior. This study, however, hypothesizes that in low information elections, where candidate’s policy preferences are not widely known, voters will discriminate against candidates they perceive as racial or ethnic minorities. This thesis finds evidence of racial and ethnic bias in voter behavior in statewide low profile elections in Texas between 1992 and 2010. Expected candidate race and ethnicity is assigned using U.S. Census Genealogical data and linear regression analysis will be used to measure the change in vote share for the Democratic Party when the candidate race and ethnicity varies.

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