Current working papers
I argue that sexism shaped voters’ reactions not only toward Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but also played an important role further down the ballot. I draw on the concept of ambivalent sexism to explore the impact of both traditional “hostile” sexism as well as “benevolent” sexism—subjectively positive yet disempowering reactions to traditional women. Drawing on a nationally representative survey that included measures of Americans’ views of actual candidates and members of Congress, as well as a conjoint experiment with fictitious candidates, I show that both faces of sexism matter for electoral politics, albeit in systematically different ways. I conclude that sexism played a broad and nuanced role in 2016, and urge that we move beyond arguments over the relative roles of racism, sexism, and economic concerns in the election to explore the longer-term trends by which gender considerations structure contemporary American politics.
Winter, Nicholas J. G., Adam G. Hughes, and Lynn M. Sanders. “Online Coders, Open Codebooks: New Opportunities for Content Analysis of Political Communication.” Revise and resubmit, Political Science Research & Methods. (Prior version presentated at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, 2016.)
Analyzing audiovisual communication is challenging because its content is highly symbolic and less rule-governed than verbal material. We describe a fully reproducible approach to analyzing video content that relies on systematically but minimally trained online workers. By aggregating the work of multiple coders, the online approach achieves reliability, validity, and costs that equal that of traditional, intensively-trained RAs, with much greater speed, transparency, and replicability. Elaborating on the unique features of visual communication and the cognitive structuring of complex concepts, we argue that measurement strategies that rely on the “wisdom of the crowd” are particularly well-suited to coding ambiguous and intricate audiovisual political content.
During the past three decades Americans have come to view the parties increasingly in gendered terms of masculinity and femininity. Utilizing three decades of American National Election Studies data and the results of a cognitive reaction-time experiment, this paper demonstrates empirically that these connections between party images and gender stereotypes have been forged at the explicit level of the traits that Americans associate with each party, and also at the implicit level of unconscious cognitive connections between gender and party stereotypes. These connections between the parties and masculinity and femininity have important implications for citizens’ political cognition and for the study of American political behavior.
In this article I argue that the framing of Social Security in political discourse has associated it symbolically with race. The linkages are subtle and symbolic, and they serve to associate Social Securitywithwhiteness in a mirror image of the association of welfare with blackness. In turn, these associations have racialized white opinion on the program. After discussing the theoretical mechanism by which issue frames can unconsciously associate policies with citizens’ racial predispositions, I review the frames surrounding Social Security. Then, drawing on two decades of nationally representative survey data, I demonstrate the racialization of opinion among whites. Using a variety of measures of racial predispositions, I find that racially conservative whites feel more positively about Social Security than do racial liberals. I conclude by considering the implications of these findings for our understanding of racialized politics and for the connections between race, whiteness, and contemporary American politics.
Although gender plays an enormous role in structuring personal relationships, society, politics, and culture, we know relatively little about when people’s gender ideologies will influence their opinions on issues that do not trade directly on matters of gender. This paper lays out a theory of group implication, which defines the conditions under which elite political discourse can lead citizens to perceive and evaluate issues in terms of their gender schemastheir cognitive representations of gender beliefs. In the heart of the paper, I apply this framework to an analysis the 1993-94 health care reform effort, and demonstrate how elite frames structured the issue in a way consistent with the gender schema. This structuring was subtle and symbolic, and served to associate, at an unconscious level, people’s gender ideology with their thinking about health care reform. The paper concludes with consideration of the implication of these findings for our understanding of the political impact of gendered rhetoric, and for our conceptual understanding of the relationship between gender and public opinion.
Black and white Americans disagree consistently and often substantially in their views on national policy. This racial divide is most pronounced on policies that intrude conspicuously on the fortunes of blacks and whites, but it is also apparent on a wide array of social welfare issues where race is less obviously in play. Our analysis takes up the question of why blacks and whites differ so markedly, distinguishing among four alternative interpretations: one centers attention on underlying differences of class, another on political principles, a third on social identity, and the fourth on audience. Our results are complicated but coherent. We discuss their implications for the meaning of group interest, speculate over the conditions under which the racial divide might close (or widen) in the foreseeable future, and suggest why we should not wish racial differences in opinion to disappear.
Stewart, Abigail J., Isis H. Settles, and Nicholas J. G. Winter. 1998. “Women and the Social Movements of the 1960s: Activists, Engaged Observers, and Nonparticipants.” Political Psychology 19(1):63-94.
Many women in the generation that attended college during the 1960s have reported that they were influenced by the social movements of that era, even women who did not participate in them. In addition to political activists, social movements also appear to include "engaged observers"-individuals who are attentive to movement writings and activities, and express moral and even financial support for them, but who take no other action. Although activism in a movement may be the best predictor of future political action, engaged observation may be related to other indicators of political socialization, such as a powerful felt impact of the movement and well-developed political attitudes. Evidence to support this notion is drawn from studies of three samples of college-educated white and black women.
Older conference papers and non-peer-reviewed
Winter, Nicholas J. G. 2009. “Masculine Republicans and Feminine Democrats: Gender and Americans’ Explicit and Implicit Images of the Political Parties.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Toronto.
During the past three decadesas the parties have staked out distinct positions on women’s rights and run gender-implicated campaignsAmericans have come to view the parties increasingly in gendered terms of masculinity and femininity. Utilizing 30 years of American National Election Studies data and the results of a cognitive reaction-time experiment, this paper demonstrates empirically that these connections between party images and gender stereotypes have been forged at the explicit level of the traits that Americans associate with each party, and also at the implicit level of unconscious cognitive connections gender and party stereotypes. These connections between the parties and masculinity have important implications for citizens’ political cognition and for the study of American political behavior.
Winter, Nicholas J. G. 2007. “Cowboys and ‘Girlie-men’: Gender Imagery and the Evaluation of Political Leaders.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago.
This paper presents pilot data as part of a larger project to explore the ways that candidate communications can shape citizens’ perceptions and evaluations of the candidates, and specifically the ways that those communications can affect gendered perceptions. Initialand somewhat speculativeresults suggest that rather subtle alterations to candidate imagery and rhetoric can influence the ways that citizens draw on their gender beliefs to understand and evaluate the candidates. These results are conditioned in important ways by citizens’ own gender, and by the contrast between benevolent and hostile faces of sexism.
Winter, Nicholas. 2006. “Fishing Rights and Race Relations.” Review of Prejudice in Politics: Group Position, Public Opinion, and Wisconsin Treaty Rights Dispute, by Lawrence D. Bobo and Mia Tuan. Science 312(30 June):1877-78.
A prior version of this talk was presented to the Stata Corporation statistical group, College Station, Texas, July 2002.
Since her appearance on the national political scene in 1992, Hillary Rodham Clinton has engendered huge amounts of controversy and press coverage-probably more than any other First Lady. She very explicitly did not take on the traditional roles of the First Lady; instead, she chaired an important policy committee and played an active role in many aspects of the work of the White House. She also did not conform to the image of a traditional President’s wife who provides a nurturing domestic sphere for her husband, and symbolically for the nation as a whole. On the other hand, during the fallout from the Lewinsky saga, she steadfastly stood by Bill Clinton, a choice that many saw as contradicting her commitments to gender progressivism. In this paper, I show that this change in the gendered image of Hillary Rodham Clinton was associated with a change in the gendering of her approval ratings among the mass public.