Do Politically Non-conservative Whites “Bend Over Backwards” to Show Preferences for Black Politicians?

Daniel T L Byrd, Deborah Hall, Nicole Roberts, Jose A. Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The current study examined whether politically non-conservative (i.e., liberal and moderate) Whites demonstrate an explicit bias in favor of Black versus White politicians on measures of political support and whether these assessments are influenced by implicit racial bias against Blacks. To address this, 671 non-conservative Whites were presented with political speeches paired with a photograph of either a Black or a White politician implied to have given the speech and were then asked to read the speech and evaluate the politician on a number of dimensions. Results showed that participants rated Black politicians more favorably than White politicians on measures of political support, including a willingness to vote for, donate money to, and report confidence in the politician. Importantly, the favorability bias observed on these measures was not influenced by implicit racial biases. When evaluating Black politicians’ intelligence, however, an explicit favorability bias (higher overall ratings of Black compared to White politicians) was moderated by implicit racial bias. Implicit pro-White/anti-Black racial bias was associated with lower ratings of perceived intelligence of Black politicians, but not White politicians, such that the favorability bias was effectively eliminated for intelligence ratings. Our findings are consistent with previous research suggesting that although White non-conservatives may go out of their way to demonstrate outward support for Blacks, deep-rooted negative attitudes about Blacks may remain, which can potentially undermine true support for Blacks in politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-241
Number of pages15
JournalRace and Social Problems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 5 2015


  • Favorability bias
  • Implicit racial bias
  • Political candidates
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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