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The Effects of the Race of the Interviewer on Race-Related Attitudes of Black Respondents in SRC/CPS National Election Studies

Publication Abstract

Anderson, Barbara A., Brian D. Silver, and Paul R. Abramson. 1988. "The Effects of the Race of the Interviewer on Race-Related Attitudes of Black Respondents in SRC/CPS National Election Studies." Public Opinion Quarterly, 52 : 289-324.

Previous research found substantial effects of the race of the interviewer on measures of civic attitudes and electoral participation of blacks in NES surveys from 1964, 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1984. This study extends the previous analysis in two ways: it uses data from two additional NES surveys, 1982 and 1986; and it focuses on the effects of the race of the interviewer on race-related attitudes. Blacks interviewed by whites were much more likely to express warmth and closeness toward whites than were blacks interviewed by blacks. But whereas there is no race-of-interviewer effect on blacks' expressions of warmth toward blacks, there is a clear race-of-interviewer effect on blacks' expressions of closeness toward blacks. The pattern of responses to the closeness items appears to result from the format of the question. The observed trend of decreasing expressed closeness of blacks toward blacks in NES surveys between 1976 and 1984 is an artifact of changes in the racial composition of the interviewer staff.

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