The impact of voter evaluations of leaders' traits on voting behaviour : evidence from seven European countries
Title: The impact of voter evaluations of leaders' traits on voting behaviour : evidence from seven European countries
Citation: West European Politics, 2015, Vol. 38, No. 6, pp. 1226-1250
ISSN: 0140-2382; 1743-9655
This article aims to examine how the evaluation of party leaders’ traits influences voting behaviour. The work incorporates data from election studies across seven countries with different social contexts (Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Hungary). Characteristics of leaders were placed into two groups: competence and warmth, in accordance with the stereotype content model and relevant studies on evaluations of leaders’ traits. Since different personality traits were evaluated within each country, the analysis was based on the two aforementioned dimensions and the political ideology of the leader. Multiple sequential binary logistic regression models were performed to analyse the predictive power of competence and warmth on voting behaviour, controlling for socio-demographic and political ideology variables of voters. Results reinforce the personalisation of politics theory, showing the relevance of leaders’ warm personality traits. As for the competence dimension, it was proven to be decisive only with regard to left-wing party leaders.
Published online: 24 Feb 2015
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