Aarhus University Seal

Does Race-Baiting Split Latino and White Americans? Racial Political Speech, Political Trust and the Importance of White Identity

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Emily Cochran Bech

This article uses two survey experiments to examine how political rhetoric about ethnic and religious minorities influences diffuse and specific political trust among Latino and white Americans. Specifically, it tests whether negative and positive political messages about Latinos and Muslims affect political trust differently depending on audience ethnicity and degree of ethnic self-identification. It finds that negative or conflicting rhetoric about Latinos damages Latinos’, but not whites’, trust in political institutions, while positive messages have little effect on such trust. More immediately, both Latino and whites express much greater trust in, and report more willingness to vote for, a politician who speaks positively about minorities, than one who bashes them. That gap is consistently larger among Latinos than whites, however—even when Muslims are targeted. Further, people’s responses vary with their degree of identification with their ethnic ingroup, but this occurs more markedly among whites than Latinos: while Latinos’ degree of Latino identity only somewhat moderates their responses to an anti- or pro-Latino politician, whites’ trust and support for race-baiting politicians is sharply higher among high-white-identifiers than those low in white identity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Behavior
Pages (from-to)805-829
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

    Research areas

  • Latino identity, Political trust, Racial appeals, White identity, Whiteness

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 338354560