The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce the Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) Awardees for 2021. The APSA DDRIG program provides support to enhance and improve the conduct of doctoral dissertation research in political science. Awards support basic research which is theoretically derived and empirically oriented.
Jasmine Carrera Smith is a Ph.D. candidate at Duke University in political science. Her work examines how Black Americans’ racial identity shapes political attitudes, behavior, and interactions with political institutions. Her dissertation “Electability Politics: How and Why Black Democrats Vote in Primary Elections” asks: How do Black Americans make vote choice decisions in primary elections? To answer this question, Jasmine goes beyond the literature that focuses on the racial and partisan considerations that guide Black voting behavior. Instead, she suggests that Black Americans are highly strategic voters and vote for the candidate that is perceived to win the general election. She then suggests that because strategic voting influences decision making in primary elections, Black voters often forego candidates that fulfill their desire for racially descriptive representation to elect a candidate that is, by their collective estimation, likely to defeat the Republican candidate in the general election. Her work has strong implications for understanding Black voting behavior and the ways in which candidates can win the influential Black voting bloc in primary elections.
Other research of hers includes investigating how Black identity shapes political behavior, how interactions with the carceral state shape individuals’ willingness to participate in politics, and a comparative analysis of participation in response to social movements between white and Black Americans during the 1960s and 2020. Jasmine received her B.A. from Indiana University in political science in 2017.