Political Behavior

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 897–915 | Cite as

The Effects of Partisan Trespassing Strategies Across Candidate Sex

  • Nichole M. BauerEmail author
Original Paper


Candidates frequently engage in partisan trespassing strategies where a candidate will highlight issues and traits associated with stereotypes of the opposing political party. Successful trespassing messages should lead voters to associate candidates with qualities that fit into stereotypes about both Democrats and Republicans, increase electoral support for a candidate, and expand a candidate’s base of support. Few studies, however, investigate whether there are differences in the effects of trespassing strategies across candidate sex. Through three survey experiments, I show that trespassing strategies have both positive and negative effects for female candidates. Voters associate female candidates who trespass with more issues and traits associated with the opposing political party, but voters also associate female candidates with fewer partisan qualities. This trade-off is one that both female and male candidates experience. Male candidates, unlike female candidates, can successfully attract more electoral support from out-partisan voters with trespassing strategies. These findings have broad implications for the viability of female candidates in national and state elections where candidates must secure support across a broad coalition of partisan and out-partisan voters.


Partisan stereotypes Gender stereotypes Gender bias Candidate strategy Voter decision-making 



The author would like to thank the four anonymous reviewers and the editor for their very helpful suggestions about how to improve this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11109_2018_9475_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1079 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science & Manship School of Mass CommunicationLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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