Ageism and Sexism in the 2016 United States Presidential Election

Ashley Lytle*, Jamie Macdonald, Christina Dyar, Sheri R. Levy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election provided a unique opportunity to examine how ageism and sexism may impact attitudes (perceived presidential qualities and endorsement of positive and negative age stereotypes) toward Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Community participants (N = 875) indicated their attitudes and voting intentions 3 weeks before the election. Endorsement of positive and negative age stereotypes and perceived presidential qualities for Clinton and Trump varied based on participants’ attitudes toward women, political stance (conservative/liberal), and demographic characteristics (racial/ethnic identification, education, gender identification). Individuals who perceived sexism to be more prevalent and perceived women as more competent in general had more positive attitudes toward Clinton, in contrast, only perceptions of lower prevalence of sexism (and not competence of women) predicted attitudes toward Trump. Individuals who perceived sexism as less prevalent viewed Clinton as less presidential and endorsed stronger negative age stereotypes for Clinton, while they viewed Trump as more presidential and endorsed stronger positive and weaker negative age stereotypes for Trump. Our findings suggest that both ageism and sexism present barriers for qualified women when pursuing positions of power. Implications for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-104
Number of pages24
JournalAnalyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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