Traits versus Issues: How Female Candidates Shape Coverage of Senate and Gubernatorial Races
From: Political Research Quarterly
Authors: Johanna Dunaway, Regina G. Lawrence, Melody Rose, Christopher R. Weber
Date Published: July 3, 2013
As female candidates may face greater challenges in establishing their “qualifications” for office, coverage of their personal traits may be pernicious, because it tends to de-emphasize substantive qualifications. This study focuses on relative amounts of trait and issue coverage of contests with and without women candidates. We find that races with female candidates yield more coverage of traits than male versus male contests and races with female candidates are less likely to generate issue coverage than trait coverage. Candidate gender and office interact; female gubernatorial candidates are most likely to garner trait coverage and least likely to engender issue coverage.