Dissertation Prospectus: Defended September 2018
Project Funding: GSU Provost’s Dissertation Fellowship ($20,000)
GSU Department of Political Science Doctoral Research Fellowship ($900)
As female representation continues to grow in Congress, some have questioned whether gender stereotypes still matter in American politics. I perform a content analysis on a random sample of 1,400 candidate-sponsored congressional advertisements from 2010-2016 and identify eight distinct stereotype-content messaging themes. I find evidence that female candidates are more likely to emphasize merit-based messaging and far less likely to emphasize values-based messaging, suggesting that female candidates rely on specific communication strategies to counteract gender stereotypes. To identify the implications of these gendered differences in candidate messaging, I conducted an experimental study, examining the impact of 16 different candidate ads with a sample of 2,975 subjects. Biometric data obtained from facial-recordings of participants while watching the advertisements indicate male and female respondents experienced divergent emotional reactions to the treatments which were strongly associated with candidate favorability and trait evaluation.