Hegemonic masculinity predicts 2016 and 2020 voting and candidate evaluations

Theresa K. Vescio, Nathaniel E.C. Schermerhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This work examined whether the endorsement of the culturally idealized form of masculinity-hegemonic masculinity (HM)-accounted for unique variance in men's and women's support for Donald Trump across seven studies (n = 2,007). Consistent with our theoretical backdrop, in the days (Studies 1 and 2) and months (Studies 3 through 6) following the 2016 American presidential election, women's and men's endorsement of HM predicted voting for and evaluations of Trump, over and above political party affiliation, gender, race, and education. These effects held when controlling for respondents' trust in the government, in contrast to a populist explanation of support for Trump. In addition, as conceptualized, HM was associated with less trust in the government (Study 3), more sexism (Study 4), more racism (Study 5), and more xenophobia (Study 6) but continued to predict unique variance in evaluations of Trump when controlling for each of these factors. Whereas HM predicted evaluations of Trump, across studies, social and prejudiced attitudes predicted evaluations of his democratic challengers: Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020. We replicate the findings of Studies 1 through 6 using a nationally representative sample of the United States (Study 7) 50 days prior to the 2020 presidential election. The findings highlight the importance of psychological examinations of masculinity as a cultural ideology to understand how men's and women's endorsement of HM legitimizes patriarchal dominance and reinforces gender, race, and class-based hierarchies via candidate support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020589118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume118
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 12 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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