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In exploring the role that racism plays in voters’ evaluation of candidates, recent research has provided evidence that white voters do not discriminate against conservative minority candidates in high-profile general elections. In situations in which a candidate’s race and his or her party identification would seemingly lead voters in opposite directions, partisanship takes precedence over race in influencing the vote decision. The 2014 U.S. Senate election in South Carolina, in which both seats—one held by a white Republican, the other by a black Republican—were contested presented a unique opportunity to test this premise. In a hypothetical trial heat between similar white and black candidates, white voters did not appear to discriminate against a black Republican candidate. Moreover, white voters who scored high on a symbolic racism measure were no less likely to express support for a conservative black candidate than those with more tolerant racial attitudes.

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