How Warmth and Competence Stereotypes Predict Political Party Support

How Warmth and Competence Stereotypes Predict Political Party Support poster

Research Authorship:

Katie Locke, Tyler Nagle, Xylie Miller, Elizabeth R. Brown, Curtis E. Phills

Faculty Mentor:

Dr. Elizabeth R. Brown, Dr. Curtis Phills | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Psychology


People use stereotypes and party affiliation when making voting decisions (Leeper, 1991). Voters are also known to support the political party they view positively (Graham, Nosek, & Haidt, 2012). How do stereotypes influence political party support? Since warmth and competence are used to evaluate social groups (Cuddy et al. 2008), we examined how the warmth and competence stereotypes associated with political parties were related to voter support. We surveyed participants using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (n = 361). Participant’s ages ranged from twenty to seventy-three years old. These participants rated Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and Libertarians on competence, warmth, and support (Buhrmester, Kwang, & Gosling, 2011). We expect to find that competence and warmth for a political party (and their interaction) aids in predicting support for that party. To support our initial hypothesis we would need to find in our regressions that the more extensively a party was rated as warm or competent, the more participants support the party. Future research could take more political parties into account, such as the Green Party, or apply these predictive models to individual candidates. Research could also be expanded to examine using communion and agency towards parties as a predictive measure of elections.