Proposal for the 2016 Time Series: Fear of Gender Favoritism and Opposition to Women Candidates

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, recent research suggests that beliefs about gender stereotypes no longer undercut support for women candidates (e.g., Brooks 2013, Dolan 2014). For instance, several studies – including two that used the 2008 ANES – found that attitudes about gender roles had little-to-no effect on men’s support for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic primaries (Gervais and Hillard 2011; Huddy and Carey 2009; Kinder and Dale-Riddle 2012; Tesler and Sears 2010). By contrast, a list experiment found that 26% of men in a nationally representative sample were “angry or upset” about “a woman serving as president” (Streb et al. 2008). How can we explain these contradictory findings? One possibility is that social desirability bias interfered with the assessment of beliefs about gender stereotypes in prior surveys. Yet recent experiments using fictional candidates avoided this problem and still found that men did not apply a double-standard to women candidates (Brooks 2013). So the question remains: why do some men oppose women candidates because they are women?

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