Out of Control: Delegates' Information Sources and Perceptions of Female Candidates

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Using survey data from statewide political party convention delegates in four states, I investigate whether and how gender stereotypes influence nomination choice. I examine whether gaining candidate information from different sources differentiallyinfluences gender stereotypes and the likelihood of supporting both a female and a malenominee. I argue that information sources outside a candidate's control-delegates'discussions with other delegates-versus sources candidates can control (e.g., campaign contacts and personal contact with the candidate) work against female candidates'nomination. Specifically, when delegates learn about candidates via the most controlled sources, they will be more likely to view the candidates as possessing both masculine and feminine traits and issue competencies. As a result, they should be more likely to support the candidate. In contrast, information from sources outside candidate control functions differently for male and female candidates: These sources confirm delegates' stereotype expectations, negatively affecting perceptions of a female candidate's masculine strengths, which then negatively relate to supporting her nomination. The results generally support these ideas: Delegates receiving information from the most controlled sources form balanced views of the female candidate, but the positiveeffects of information from these sources on nomination choice are not mediated by stereotypes. In contrast, delegates gaining information from other delegates confirm their stereotypes of the candidate and are then less likely to support her. More broadly,gender stereotypes, particularly those regarding female candidates' masculine traitsand feminine issue competencies relative to the candidate's male opponent, directly and positively relate to delegates' likelihood of supporting her. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Candidate information, Candidate nominations, Delegates, Gender stereotypes, Information source, Political party conventions

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