2012 Poster Prize
Winner: Randy Besco
Voting and Visible Minority Candidates in Canada: An Experimental Investigation
Excerpt from jury report: Randy Besco’s work analyzes the question of discrimination against visible minority candidates in Canadian elections. The findings are based on an original online experiment asking 358 undergraduate students to choose between two fictional candidates whose assumed race/ethnicity and party labels are manipulated. The surprising main finding is that perceived visible minority status did not diminish support whether or not party labels are employed, and when party labels are not employed there is actually a preference for the visible minority candidate. Besco’s work addresses why the experiment resulted in this outcome, stressing the research participants’ need for cognition.