Nicholas A. Valentino

Elections, Public Opinion and Voting Behavior, Political Communication, Political Psychology

UCLA Ph.D, Political Science
25.53

Publications

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    Public Opinion Quarterly 10/2013; 77(3):641-665. DOI:10.1093/poq/nft024 · 2.25 Impact Factor
  • Nicholas A. Valentino, Yioryos Nardis
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    ABSTRACT: http://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-political-psychology-9780199760107?cc=us&lang=en&
    The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, 2nd edited by Leonie Huddy, David O. Sears, and Jack S. Levy, 09/2013: chapter The Psychology of Political Communication: Form and Consquence of the Information Environment: pages 559-590; Oxford University Press., ISBN: 9780199760107
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    Nicholas A. Valentino, Ted Brader, Ashley E. Jardina
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    ABSTRACT: General ethnocentrism seems to be a powerful antecedent of immigration opinion, typically displaying larger effects than economic concerns. News about immigration, however, may focus attention on a particular group in a given historical moment. We predict group-specific affect, not general ethnocentrism, should most powerfully shape immigration policy opinion in the contemporary United States. We test this expectation with content analyses of news coverage, survey data from 1992 to 2008, a survey experiment, and official statistics. First, we find that mentions of Latinos in news coverage of immigration outpace mentions of other groups beginning in 1994, the year when Proposition 187, a proposal in California to end most social welfare and educational assistance to illegal immigrants, garnered significant national attention. Second, while ethnocentrism dominates economic concerns in explanations of Whites' immigration policy opinions, attitudes toward Latinos in particular account for nearly all of the impact of ethnocentrism since 1994. Finally, journalistic attention to Latino immigration roughly parallels actual rates of immigration from Latin America, suggesting the media shaping of policy opinion around this group may be driven by real-world demographic patterns.
    Political Psychology 04/2013; 34(2):149-166. DOI:10.2307/23481739 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Past research suggests that citizens' attitudes toward immigration are driven by perceptions of immigrants' (a) economic status and (b) ethnicity. In this study, we use an online survey conducted with a representative sample of Canadians to test to what extent economic and cultural cues influence support for individual immigrants. In particular, by drawing on a parallel US survey, we explore whether Canadians' relatively unique (positive) attitudes toward immigration make them more immune to economic and cultural threat manipulations than their American counterparts. The analysis is based on an experimental design embedded in a series of immigrant vignettes that vary the ethnoracial background and social status of an individual applying for immigration. We examine overall support for immigration, as well as the extent to which both ethnic and economic status cues affect support for individual immigrants. We also explore variance within Canada, specifically, in Quebec versus the rest of the country. Results offer new and unique information on the structure of attitudes on diversity and immigration in Canada. Most importantly, they suggest the relative importance of economic cues in support for immigration in both countries.
    Canadian Journal of Political Science 09/2012; 45(3):499-530. DOI:10.1017/S0008423912000698 · 0.45 Impact Factor
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    Nicholas A. Valentino, Ted Brader
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    ABSTRACT: This study explores the impact of a momentous political event, the election of the nation's first black president, Barack Obama, in 2008, on perceptions of racism and opinions about racial policy. A representative panel study of Americans interviewed immediately before and after the election reveals a roughly 10 percent decline in perceptions of racial discrimination. About one quarter of respondents revised their perceptions of discrimination downward. We explore several explanations for this decline. First, motivated-reasoning theory would predict larger declines among those whose priors tell them that racism was a diminished force to begin with. Second, changes could be concentrated among those who have the least contact with out-group members, or who are less knowledgeable about politics, and therefore weight Obama's victory heavily in deciding how much racism exists in America. Third, based on theories of emotion and cognition, anxiety but not anger before the election might trigger substantial updating of beliefs. We found the drop in perceived discrimination to be widespread across groups in the population, with conservatives but not necessarily racially resentful whites exhibiting somewhat larger declines. Residential racial context had no effect on changes in perception, though declines were larger among the least politically knowledgeable. More notably, those citizens anxious but not angry before the election displayed much larger declines in perceived discrimination. Finally, declines in perceived discrimination were associated with increases in negative opinions of blacks and heightened opposition to both affirmative action and immigration.
    Public Opinion Quarterly 06/2011; 75(2). DOI:10.2307/41288381 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A growing body of work suggests that exposure to subtle racial cues prompts white voters to penalize black candidates, and that the effects of these cues may influence outcomes indirectly via perceptions of candidate ideology. We test hypotheses related to these ideas using two experiments based on national samples. In one experiment, we manipulated the race of a candidate (Barack Obama vs. John Edwards) accused of sexual impropriety. We found that while both candidates suffered from the accusation, the scandal led respondents to view Obama as more liberal than Edwards, especially among resentful and engaged whites. Second, overall evaluations of Obama declined more sharply than for Edwards. In the other experiment, we manipulated the explicitness of the scandal, and found that implicit cues were more damaging for Obama than explicit ones. KeywordsRace–Voting behavior–Stereotypes
    Political Behavior 01/2011; 33(2):179-202. DOI:10.1007/s11109-010-9135-8 · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A large literature has established a persistent association between the skills and resources citizens possess and their likelihood of participating in politics. However, the short-term motivational forces that cause citizens to employ those skills and expend resources in one election but not the next have only recently received attention. Findings in political psychology suggest specific emotions may play an important role in mobilization, but the question of “which emotions play what role?” remains an important area of debate. Drawing on cognitive appraisal theory and the Affective Intelligence model, we predict that anger, more than anxiety or enthusiasm, will mobilize. We find evidence for the distinctive influence of anger in a randomized experiment, a national survey of the 2008 electorate, and in pooled American National Election Studies from 1980 to 2004.
    The Journal of Politics 12/2010; 73(01):156 - 170. DOI:10.1017/S0022381610000939 · 1.48 Impact Factor
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    Danny Osborne, David O. Sears, Nicholas A. Valentino
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    ABSTRACT: The partisan realignment of the White South, which transformed this region from being solidly Democratic to being the base of the Republican Party, has been the focus of much scholarship. Exactly how it occurred is unclear. Widespread individual-level attitude changes would be contrary to the well-known within-person stability of party identification. However, according to the impressionable-years hypothesis, events that occur during adolescence and early adulthood may have a lasting impact on later political attitudes. This would suggest that cohort replacement may be driving partisan realignment. We test this possibility using data from the American National Election Studies from 1960 to 2008. Consistent with the impressionable-years hypothesis, Southern Whites from the pre-Civil Rights cohort (born before 1936) maintained their Democratic Party identification longer than their younger counterparts. However, all cohorts in the South have changed their partisan attitudes at comparable rates over time, contrary to the impressionable-years hypothesis. These data suggest that the partisan realignment of the South was driven by both cohort replacement and within-cohort attitude change. More targeted case studies of older cohorts living through the civil rights era, and of younger cohorts in the post-Reagan era, yield results generally consistent with the impressionable-years hypothesis. More generally, our findings suggest that very large scale events are required to disrupt the normal continuity of party identification across the life span.
    Political Psychology 11/2010; 32(1):81 - 108. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00796.x · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    Ted Brader, Nicholas A. Valentino, Ashley E. Jardina, Timothy J. Ryan
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    ABSTRACT: Explanations for racial gaps in national policy opinion are often complicated by overlapping class/material and identity-based forces. If blacks are more favorable to racial or social welfare policies, it is difficult to know whether their material interests or their identification as a member of an oppressed group causes this difference. The domain of immigration policy offers a unique opportunity to contrast class/material interest versus symbolic politics explanations of the racial gap, since blacks material interests regarding the issue should, on average, push them to be more conservative on the issue than whites, and to be much more reactive to threatening news stories about immigrants. Symbolic politics theory would expect, on the other hand, that blacks might identify with oppressed groups, including immigrants, and therefore take less restrictive or punitive positions on the issue and to be less persuaded by threatening news. We employ ANES survey data and an Internet survey experiment with a national sample of whites and an oversample of blacks. We find that blacks are, in fact, consistently more permissive on immigration than whites across a host of different policies. Second, group attitudes, not material interests drive individual differences in both black and white opinions about immigration. Finally, blacks are much more resistant than whites to negatively framed news stories about the impact of immigration. In general, this pattern of findings strongly supports the notion that immigration opinion is driven by symbolic concerns like group identity, and less by class or individual material interests.
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    ABSTRACT: The rise of the Internet forces scholars to reevaluate the frequency and nature of political information seeking in the contemporary period. The functionality of the Internet makes passive exposure more difficult, and selective information seeking easier, than in the past. However, people may also use the Internet in a new and directed way—to arm themselves with information to express and defend their views either online or in the real world. The central question we explore in this paper is what explains balanced versus biased information seeking in the era of the Internet? We combine insights from Sears and Freedman (1967) with newer work on emotion to predict motivated selectivity: focusing specifically on the interaction between anxiety and information utility. Our central theoretical claim is that anxiety does not simply boost any information seeking; it triggers information seeking that is useful for addressing the problem at hand. Anxiety alone, therefore, does not guarantee a balanced information search. When counterattitudinal information is useful for some reason—for example, to defend their own opinions to others who may disagree—anxious citizens should seek it out. As a consequence, these subjects should learn more specific information about where each candidate stands on the issues. In an experiment we find support for these hypotheses. We conclude that while today's flexible Internet environment may permit selectivity, balanced seeking should still occur under a fairly common set of circumstances.
    Political Psychology 07/2009; 30(4):591 - 613. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2009.00716.x · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    Ted Brader, Nicholas A. Valentino, Elizabeth Suhay
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    ABSTRACT: We examine whether and how elite discourse shapes mass opinion and action on immigration policy. One popular but untested suspicion is that reactions to news about the costs of immigration depend upon who the immigrants are. We confirm this suspicion in a nationally representative experiment: news about the costs of immigration boosts white opposition far more when Latino immigrants, rather than European immigrants, are featured. We find these group cues influence opinion and political action by triggering emotions—in particular, anxiety—not simply by changing beliefs about the severity of the immigration problem. A second experiment replicates these findings but also confirms their sensitivity to the stereotypic consistency of group cues and their context. While these results echo recent insights about the power of anxiety, they also suggest the public is susceptible to error and manipulation when group cues trigger anxiety independently of the actual threat posed by the group.
    American Journal of Political Science 09/2008; 52(4):959 - 978. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2008.00353.x · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    Nicholas A. Valentino, Krysha Gregorowicz, Eric W. Groenendyk
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    ABSTRACT: Political behavior is triggered by the presence of a variety of material and cognitive resources, including political efficacy. The dominant view conceptualizes efficacy as capital, used to overcome obstacles to participation. Our theory suggests that unlike other resources, efficacy aids in the development of habitual participation by activating a particular negative emotion, anger. Using the 1990–1992 NES Panel, we find that internal efficacy boosts participation in part by facilitating anger, but not fear, in response to policy threats. This partial mediating effect operates primarily among younger citizens who are in the process of developing the habit of participation. External efficacy, because it is not self-referential, is not causally linked to participation via emotions. Finally, internal efficacy is enhanced by successful participation in politics, closing a feedback loop that helps explain participatory habits.
    Political Behavior 09/2008; 31(3):307-330. DOI:10.1007/s11109-008-9076-7 · 1.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we explore the mediating role of emotions in the process of becoming a politically informed citizen. Contrary to previous studies, we expect that anger and anxiety will have much different effects on this process. We suspect the role of anxiety is somewhat unique even among negative emotions as mediator of the causal effect of political threats on information seeking and learning. In addition, we speculate that anxiety should improve the quality of information seeking, not just its quantity. In one experiment, we induce emotions directly and find that while anger, enthusiasm, and anxiety can lead people to claim they will pay attention to the campaign, anger actually depresses total information seeking. In a second experiment, we examine the impact of realistic political threats and find that exposure triggers several emotions but that only anxiety boosts information seeking and learning.
    Political Psychology 03/2008; 29(2):247 - 273. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2008.00625.x · 1.71 Impact Factor
  • Nicholas A. Valentino
    Public Opinion Quarterly 12/2006; 70(4):628-631. DOI:10.1093/poq/nfl023 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    Nicholas A. Valentino, David O. Sears
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    ABSTRACT: Our focus is the regional political realignment that has occurred among whites over the past four decades. We hypothesize that the South's shift to the Republican party has been driven to a significant degree by racial conservatism in addition to a harmonizing of partisanship with general ideological conservatism. General Social Survey and National Election Studies data from the 1970s to the present indicate that whites residing in the old Confederacy continue to display more racial antagonism and ideological conservatism than non-Southern whites. Racial conservatism has become linked more closely to presidential voting and party identification over time in the white South, while its impact has remained constant elsewhere. This stronger association between racial antagonism and partisanship in the South compared to other regions cannot be explained by regional differences in nonracial ideology or nonracial policy preferences, or by the effects of those variables on partisanship.
    American Journal of Political Science 05/2005; 49(3):672 - 688. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2005.00136.x · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have shown that social "compassion" issues, and not those directly linked to women's interests, seem to drive the gender gap in presidential vote choice. Some of these compassion issues are associated with the plight of racial minorities in the media and in the minds of average citizens. Drawing on theories of gender role socialization, we predict that traditional partisan stands on racial issues may help to explain the gender gap. Specifically, we hypothesize that the gap emerges because men and women react differently to cues about how compassionate candidates are toward vulnerable social groups. In one experiment, we manipulate news information regarding George W. Bush's commitment to blacks versus women. The gender gap is maximized when Bush takes the traditional Republican stance, while it is reduced significantly when Bush espouses a more moderate position. The gender gap is unaffected by variation in the position that Bush takes on women's issues. In another experiment, we also find that the gender gap emerges when traditional partisan appeals are racialized. Finally, exposure to the 2000 Republican National Convention, with its message of racial inclusion, boosted evaluations of Bush among women but not men.
    Public Opinion Quarterly 12/2004; 68(4):512-541. DOI:10.1093/poq/nfh038 · 2.25 Impact Factor
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    N. A. Valentino
    Journal of Communication 06/2004; 54(2):337-354. DOI:10.1093/joc/54.2.337 · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    Nicholas A. Valentino, Vincent L. Hutchings, Dmitri Williams
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has suggested that exposure to political advertising is generally informative and may even reduce information gaps between the most and least aware in society, but does not produce large shifts in candidate preference. Drawing on extant models of opinion change, we predicted that the informational benefits of political ads would vary by level of awareness, such that the most aware would experience the largest gains, especially when they are asked to make inferences about issues not explicitly discussed in the ad. Further, we predicted that the most aware would use information in advertisements as a substitute for other kinds of information seeking, while the least aware would be relatively unmotivated to seek out new information, regardless of exposure. Finally, the least aware would be more susceptible to persuasion via ads than the most aware would be. Experimental evidence confirmed these predictions.
    Journal of Communication 05/2004; 54(2):337 - 354. DOI:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2004.tb02632.x · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    Vincent L. Hutchings, Nicholas A. Valentino
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    ABSTRACT: ▪ Abstract The study of race and U.S. politics has always been controversial in the discipline. Theory and evidence are often ignored or misconstrued. Furthermore, literatures that examine the impact of race have developed in relative isolation from one another. We try to address this shortcoming here. We examine research on the influence of race on the political attitudes, behavior, and institutions of both blacks and whites. Our focus is on partisanship, voting, policy opinions, and representation. We identify linkages across these domains and then discuss the implications of this work for assessing the nation's progress toward achieving racial justice.
    Annual Review of Political Science 05/2004; 7:383-408. DOI:10.1146/annurev.polisci.7.012003.104859 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we integrate research findings on the impact of exposure to stereotype reinforcing local crime news with theories about the impact of residential context on attitudes about race and crime. To date, there has been no research investigating whether neighborhood context mitigates or exacerbates the impact of exposure to racially stereotypic crime news. We test extensions of two competing theories. According to the social contact hypothesis, under certain circumstances whites’ residential proximity to blacks might reduce the likelihood of further negative effects via exposure to racially stereotypic media messages. On the other hand, according to the group threat hypothesis, proximity to blacks might increase whites’ sensitivity to stereotype-reinforcing crime news. We collected information about the neighborhood racial context for each respondent in an experiment. We then exposed respondents either to racially stereotypic or non-stereotypic crime stories on local news programs. Results support our prediction based on the social contact hypothesis. When exposed to racial stereotypes in the news, white respondents living in white homogeneous neighborhoods endorsed more punitive policies to address crime, expressed more negative stereotypic evaluations of blacks, and felt more distant from blacks as a group. Whites from more mixed neighborhoods were either unaffected or moved in the opposite direction: endorsing less punitive crime policies, less negative stereotypes, and feeling closer to blacks as a group as a result of exposure to the stereotypic coverage. The implication of this moderating impact of residential integration is discussed.
    Political Research Quarterly 12/2002; DOI:10.1177/106591290205500402 · 0.92 Impact Factor

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