Race and Social Problems

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 365–371 | Cite as

Racial Imagery and Support for Voter ID Laws

  • David C. Wilson
  • Paul R. BrewerEmail author
  • Phoebe Theodora Rosenbluth


Previous research suggests that calls for voter ID laws include racialized appeals and that racial attitudes influence support for such laws. This study uses an experiment to test whether exposure to racial imagery also affects support for voter ID laws. The data come from a survey experiment embedded in the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (N = 1,436) randomizing the race of a voter and poll worker shown to respondents (African American voter and poll worker, white voter and poll worker, or no image). The results show that white respondents who saw an image of an African American voter and poll worker expressed greater support for voter ID laws than those in the no image condition, even after controlling for the significant effects of racial resentment and political ideology. Exposure to an image of a white voter and poll worker did not produce a similar effect. The findings provide new evidence that public opinion about voter ID laws is racialized.


Voter ID laws Survey experiment Race Imagery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David C. Wilson
    • 1
  • Paul R. Brewer
    • 2
    Email author
  • Phoebe Theodora Rosenbluth
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and International RelationsUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Center for Political CommunicationUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  3. 3.Strath Haven High SchoolSwarthmoreUSA

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