Meredith Conroy, Ph.D.

mconroy@csusb.edu

California State University, San Bernardino

Country: United States (California)

About Me:

I am an associate professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, and also a Senior Researcher with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. I earned my Ph.D. in political science from University of California, Santa Barbara. My first book, Masculinity, Media, and the American Presidency was published in September 2015. This book analyzes the ways that media discuss men in politics and how it contribute to the maintenance of masculinity as preferential in American politics. I am currently working on a book manuscript drawing attention to the importance of masculininty in the decision to run for office for men and women.

Research Interests

American Presidency And Executive Politics

Gender and Politics

Political Communication

Political Participation

Public Opinion

Specific Areas of Interest

Masculinity

Social Media

Issue Framing

Countries of Interest

United States

My Research:

My scholarship is largely focused on political information—as it serves as persuasion for mass publics, and as communicated by media. I study issue frames to get a sense of what sort of ideas resonate with the public and influence their opinions on political issues. I also study what makes a frame more effective, and what sorts of individuals are more likely to be affected. In addition to media effects, I also study media content. What sorts of messages are media reporting, and in particular, how does the media discuss political leadership, and in what ways are these discussions gendered? I find that political discourse in popular media prioritizes masculinity, and tends to diminish, or devalue femininity. My scholarship considers how this impacts the representativeness of our political institutions. Currently, I am working on a book manuscript looking at why people run for political office, and the ways in which their own gender role identity (e.g. masculine or feminine), infleunces whether or not they will be recruited to run for office, see themselves as qualified, and eventually run. 

Publications:

Journal Articles:

(2017) Tough Enough for the Job? How Masculinity Predicts Recruitment of City Council Members, American Politics Research

Tags: Gender and Politics, Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

Does an individual’s gender help to explain if he or she is more or less likely to be recruited to run for political office? While the effects of sex differences on the candidate emergence process have been studied extensively, the influence of masculinity and femininity is less understood. To uncover if gender influences whether an individual is recruited to run for political office, this article relies on data from an original survey of a nationally representative sample of city council members, with the primary independent variable, individuals’ self-identified masculinity, measured by the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ). Results show that those who identify as more masculine, whether male or female, are more likely to be recruited to run for elected office. This effect holds for a variety of types of recruitment, such as political elites and women’s organizations. The findings add an important dimension to the supply-side explanations for women’s underrepresentation.

(2016) Internet use and political participation: Engaging citizenship norms through online activities, Journal of Information Technology & Politics

Tags: Political Participation, Political Communication

Research on the relationship between Internet use and political participation has identified numerous effects that result from various online activities, though the mechanisms of influence often remain unclear. In response, we develop a theory of Internet effects and citizenship norms, wherein specific uses of the Internet influence political participation by fostering dutiful or actualizing norms of citizenship. Using a longitudinal research design comprised of five nationally representative, postelection surveys (2002–2010), we find that people who engage in dutiful uses are more likely to participate in the dutiful act of voting than those who engage in actualizing uses; these findings are most prevalent among those aged 18–30. These results suggest that online activities, which reflect specific norms of citizenship, often predict corresponding forms of political participation.

(2015) From Ferraro to Palin: sexism in coverage of vice presidential candidates in old and new media, Politics, Groups, and Identities

Tags: Gender and Politics

An analysis of news coverage of vice presidential candidates finds the previously observed media biases for women who run for other political positions to be present for women vice presidential nominees, and especially in the arena of new media, where editorial filters are mostly absent. Using content analysis of major print news and online blogs, we find sex inequalities in coverage tone, type, and hard sexism (overtly gendered insults). Coverage of female vice presidential candidates is more negative, more focused on her appearance and familial role, and more sexist, than coverage of male vice presidential candidates. Furthermore, we find that negative tone and hard sexism are more pronounced in the online blogosphere. The implication for women, especially for those with presidential ambitions, is that known media hostility may be a deterrent, and further stimulates the chronic underrepresentation of women in our governing institutions.

(2013) Issue Comparisons and Ordinal Priming, International Journal of Communication

Tags: Political Psychology

We consider a form of media effect involving comparisons between similar events or problems that differ in magnitude along some common dimension. We propose that such comparisons involve “ordinal priming” when they establish a single schema for evaluation and suggest a rank order among two or more cases, as in the statement that the current economic crisis is the worst since the Great Depression. We explore the direction of opinion shift in ordinal priming using an experiment involving four issues. Results show that, on two of the four issues, comparisons shift opinion about the target issue in the direction of assimilation toward more negative assessment. We find that this effect is contingent on the issue and is moderated by cognitive sophistication.

(2012) Facebook and political engagement: A study of online political group membership and offline political engagement, Computers in Human Behavior

Tags: Political Participation, Political Communication

In what ways do online groups help to foster political engagement among citizens? We employ a multi-method design incorporating content analysis of online political group pages and original survey research of university undergraduates (n = 455) to assess the relationship between online political group membership and political engagement—measured through political knowledge and political participation surrounding the 2008 election. We find that participation in online political groups is strongly correlated with offline political participation, as a potential function of engaging members online. However, we fail to confirm that there is a corresponding positive relationship between participation in online political groups and political knowledge, likely due to low quality online group discussion.

Media Appearances:

Newspaper Quotes:

(2018) The Globe Post

Three States May Decide the 2020 US Presidential Election

(2016) The Washington Post.

What’s behind the ‘Drunk Hillary’ meme that’s taking over the Trump Internet?

(2016) NPR

Trump and the Testosterone Takeover of 2016.

(2016) Reuters

A Powerful Veep Audition for GOP Governor Nikki Haley

(2015) New York Times

Hillary Clinton’s Toughness.

Blog Posts:

(2018) Fivethirtyeight

We Looked At Hundreds Of Endorsements. Here’s Who Republicans Are Listening To.

(2018) Fivethirtyeight

At Least 123 Women Will Be In The Next Congress. Just 19 Are Republicans.

(2018) Rewire

Data Analysis: Influx of Democratic Women Could Spell the Hyde Amendment’s Demise

(2018) Fivethirtyeight

We Researched Hundreds Of Races. Here’s Who Democrats Are Nominating.

(2018) Fivethirtyeight

We Looked At Hundreds Of Endorsements. Here’s Who Democrats Are Listening To.

(2017) Fivethirtyeight

Trump Hasn’t Rolled Back Obama’s Executive Orders (So Far)

(2016) Washington Post - MonkeyCage

Here’s how we talk about manhood — and womanhood — during a presidential race

Other:

(2019) Fivethirtyeight

Slack Chat: How Broken Is The Debate About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

(2018) Fivethirtyeight

In this episode of the Politics podcast, I join Clare, Jody, and Micah to discuss the Kavanaugh hearings, and whether Trump will withdraw Kavanaugh's name. (September 17, 2018)

(2018) Fivethirtyeight

In this episode of the politics podcast, we discuss data we collected on Democrats running for open primary races in the 2018 midterms. Lots of women running, and women.