Voting decisions and perceived credibility of sexual assault allegations against candidates in the 2020 presidential election
AdvisorDemers, Jennifer M.
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Wallace, Taylor; Moore, Robin. 2023. Voting decisions and perceived credibility of sexual assault allegations against candidates in the 2020 presidential election. -- In Proceedings: 22nd Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 21
Purpose: Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden were accused of sexual assault or harassment by multiple women during the 2020 election. This is the first heavily publicized occurrence of both primary political parties endorsing candidates with sexual misconduct allegations against them. Perceived credibility of the allegations may differ among participants for various reasons, including party allegiance, the systematic influence of rape myth acceptance in the United States, and differential media coverage of the allegations. As such, there is a gap in literature concerning how these sexual assault and harassment allegations and their perceived credibility impact voter perceptions of the candidates and subsequent voting decisions. The current study explores perceptions of the sexual assault allegations against both candidates and how they impacted voting decisions. Participants surveyed online through Qualtrics consisted of 1,332 people residing in the continental United States who were recruited through Facebook ads beginning in the fall of 2020 and ending prior to the election. Participants described their perception of the credibility of allegations against both candidates, why they were voting for their chosen candidate, and why they weren't voting for the opposing candidate. Open-ended responses will be analyzed using qualitative methods. Specifically, thematic analysis will be conducted to identify overarching themes. Findings may provide insight on voters' perceptions of the credibility of sexual assault allegations against both presidential candidates in the 2020 election, as well as their relative impact on voting decisions.
Presented to the 22nd Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum (URCAF) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 7, 2023.