Issues and leaders as vote determinants : the case of Italy
Title: Issues and leaders as vote determinants : the case of Italy
Citation: Party politics, 2015, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 272-283
ISSN: 1460-3683; 1354-0688
A growing literature highlights the importance of leader image as a determinant of voting in contemporary democracies and as a force now paralleling the explanatory power of traditional structural and ideological factors affecting voting choice. Yet the actual effect of leaders in the citizen’s vote calculus remains uncertain because of the potential reciprocal causation between leader evaluation and other vote determinants. Thus, the extent to which voters’ appreciation of leaders depends on their personality traits or on their policies, and how these forces variously influence the vote, is difficult to assess. To cope with this endogeneity problem we rely on instrumental variable estimation and two-stage regression analysis. We are able to show that in the highly polarized 2006 Italian legislative elections the net direct effect of leaders on voting choice was actually weaker than that exerted by issue preferences.
First published online before print on 30 January 2013.
Type of Access: openAccess