PIPE* Research Talk: Jennifer Merolla, UCRiverside

Terrorism, Gender, and the 2016 Presidential Election

Jennifer Merolla, Professor, Political Science, University of California, Riverside, received her PhD in Political Science from Duke University, 2003. Prior to joining the University of California, Riverside, she served as Assistant Professor (2003-2009) and then Associate Professor of Political Science (2009-2015) at Claremont Graduate University.

Merolla’s research focuses on how the political environment shapes individual attitudes and behavior across many domains such as candidate evaluations during elections, immigration policy attitudes, foreign policy attitudes, and support for democratic values and institutions.

The 2016 U.S. presidential election was unusual in many ways, including the fact that it featured Hillary Clinton as the first woman major party nominee and Donald Trump as the first modern day major party candidate without extensive political experience. It was also an election in which terrorism was more salient than it has been in recent U.S. presidential contests. These factors combine to offer the opportunity to evaluate the degree to which gender, experience, and a heightened context of terrorism shape candidate evaluations. Of particular interest are evaluations of the candidates’ leadership capacities given objective differences in their foreign policy experiences.