Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

First Advisor

Grant, Tobin


The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact white affect toward African Americans has on whites' racial policy opinions. The study also identifies the difficulty of measuring affect in the traditional feeling thermometer. Moreover, the study introduces and tests a new method for measuring affect that improves interpersonal comparability of reported affect by anchoring the respondents' self-placements. The study investigates the changes in the relationship between white affect toward African Americans and racial policy opinions of presidential election years between 1964 and 2008. Furthermore, the study tests a new method for measuring affect by having respondents rate where they believe groups representing points on an ordinal scale would belong on the scale. The method allows for an adjustment of the respondents' self-placement in relation to where the respondent places the group. The findings contained here show that affect can be an important predictor of white racial policy opinion and the strength of affect can vary over time. In addition, the measurement of affect can be improved by utilizing anchoring objects in a survey to clarify the ordering of the scale for the respondents, as well as allowing for a reallocation of scores.




This dissertation is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.