Partisanship and gender are powerful heuristic cues used by citizens to understand their elected officials’ ideology. When these cues send complementary signals – a Democratic woman or a Republican man – we expect they will aid citizens in evaluating their leaders’ political ideology. However, when partisanship and gender send conflicting signals, we expect citizens will be more likely to misperceive their leaders’ beliefs. We test this proposition using ideological evaluations of incumbent US senators collected in the 2010 and 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Studies. The findings support our hypotheses, illustrating voters’ reliance on both partisan and gender cues. Our results suggest potential consequences for not only Republican women, but also Democratic men.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science