Voter preferences and the political underrepresentation of minority groups: Lesbian, gay, and transgender candidates in advanced democracies

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Abstract

Minority groups have long been underrepresented in politics. Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights and the incidence of LGBT candidates have dramatically increased in recent years. But do voters (still) penalize LGT candidates? We conducted original survey experiments with nationally representative samples in the United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. To varying degrees voters penalize LGT candidates in all countries, with penalties strongest in the United States. Yet, progressives, people with LGBT friends, and nonreligious individuals do not discriminate against gays and lesbians, while transgender candidates face stronger bias. Electability concerns, outright prejudice, and identity cueing (i.e., LGT candidates seen as more liberal) explain voter bias. This study contributes to the literature on minority candidates and disentangles correlated candidate attributes, exploring the intersectionality of bias. Understanding the barriers to the election of LGT people is crucial to improve the representation of marginalized communities.

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APA

Magni, G., & Reynolds, A. (2021). Voter preferences and the political underrepresentation of minority groups: Lesbian, gay, and transgender candidates in advanced democracies. Journal of Politics, 83(4), 1199–1215. https://doi.org/10.1086/712142

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