Guest Speaker - Christina Wolbrecht

Departmental Event

Start Date: Feb 12, 2020 - 12:00pm

Location: Room 2069

Christina Wolbrecht, PhD
University of Notre Dame

Restoring Faith in American Democracy: The Effect of Women Candidates on Adolescents’ Evaluations of Politics in 2018

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Democratic-leaning adolescents (both girls and boys) became more skeptical of democracy. In 2018, however, Democratic girls’confidence in democracy rebounded. Why? In this paper, we employ a unique threewave panel study of adolescents and their parents, to test whether Democratic girlsbecame more positive toward democracy if they lived in places where Democraticwomen ran for high-profile political office. They did. The same is also true of Democraticboys and Republican girls but to a much lesser extent; Republican boys, on the otherhand, actually became slightly less likely to see American democracy as responsive.These results suggest that descriptive representation can foster a more positiveperception of democracy, especially among underrepresented groups. But those who arepolitically advantaged appear unaffected.
Christina Wolbrecht is professor of political science, Director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy, and C. Robert and Margaret Hanley Family Director of the Notre Dame Washington Program. Her forthcoming co-authored book, A Century of Votes for Women: American Elections Since Suffrage (Cambridge 2020), examines how women voted across the first 100 years since the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. Wolbrecht also is the co-author of Counting Women's Ballots: Female Voters from Suffrage Through the New Deal (Cambridge
2016) and The Politics of Women’s Rights (Princeton 2000).