Thursday, April 17, 2014

Perceived Status Threat From the Racial Demographic Shift Affects White Americans’ Political Ideology

Maureen A. Craig, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Swift Hall, 2029 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL 60208 E-mail:

Author Contributions M. A. Craig and J. A. Richeson developed the study concept. Both authors contributed to the study design. Data collection, data analysis, and interpretation were performed by M. A. Craig, under the supervision of J. A. Richeson. M. A. Craig drafted the manuscript, and J. A. Richeson provided critical revisions. Both authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission.


The U.S. Census Bureau projects that racial minority groups will make up a majority of the U.S. national population in 2042, effectively creating a so-called majority-minority nation. In four experiments, we explored how salience of such racial demographic shifts affects White Americans’ political-party leanings and expressed political ideology. Study 1 revealed that making California’s majority-minority shift salient led politically unaffiliated White Americans to lean more toward the Republican Party and express greater political conservatism. Studies 2, 3a, and 3b revealed that making the changing national racial demographics salient led White Americans (regardless of political affiliation) to endorse conservative policy positions more strongly. Moreover, the results implicate group-status threat as the mechanism underlying these effects. Taken together, this work suggests that the increasing diversity of the nation may engender a widening partisan divide.

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