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Political Behavior

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 315–333 | Cite as

Collective Descriptive Representation and Black Voter Mobilization in 2008

  • Christopher J. ClarkEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Although record turnout in the 2008 election is primarily credited to Obama’s candidacy, did the presence of black elected officials in the state legislature play a role in mobilizing black voters? Did patterns of mobilization differ among black voters? Using the 2008 American National Election Study that I merged with contextual data, I find that disengaged black voters in states with a greater number of black state legislators, or what I refer to as collective descriptive representation, were more likely to be contacted, and as a result, were more likely to vote. On the other hand, neither collective descriptive representation nor being contacted influenced the political behavior of engaged black voters. This suggests that in 2008, descriptive representation and experiencing contact mattered more for mobilizing disengaged black voters than for mobilizing engaged black voters.

Keywords

Descriptive representation Obama Black voter mobilization Voter turnout 2008 election 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank Tom Carsey, Vincent Hutchings, Rene Rocha, Caroline Tolbert, and anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback on this manuscript.

Supplementary material

11109_2013_9237_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (170 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 170 kb). Online appendix for collective descriptive representation and black voter mobilization in 2008

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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