Politicians Are People: Personal Characteristics and Policy Interact when Voters Evaluate Political Candidates

Rasmus Tue Pedersen , Jens Olav Dahlgaard, Manuele Citi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

Abstract

Voters may infer both personal traits and policy positions from the background characteristics of political candidates. Using a survey experiment, we investigate whether the influence of background characteristics vanish when explicit policy information is available to the voters. Specifically, we explore the degree to which voters use a candidate’s gender, family background, and current occupation to infer traits and policies of the candidate. We show that voters do infer both traits and policy positions from background characteristic, and we show that explicit policy information does moderate the relationship between background characteristics and candidate evaluations. However, this does not mean that the effects of candidate background characteristics disappear when policy information is available to voters. Instead, the provision of policy information can change the valence of personal candidate characteristics, turning otherwise disadvantageous background characteristics into an electoral advantage. These moderating effects of policy information may strongly affect the electoral fortunes of certain types of candidates.
Voters may infer both personal traits and policy positions from the background characteristics of political candidates. Using a survey experiment, we investigate whether the influence of background characteristics vanish when explicit policy information is available to the voters. Specifically, we explore the degree to which voters use a candidate’s gender, family background, and current occupation to infer traits and policies of the candidate. We show that voters do infer both traits and policy positions from background characteristic, and we show that explicit policy information does moderate the relationship between background characteristics and candidate evaluations. However, this does not mean that the effects of candidate background characteristics disappear when policy information is available to voters. Instead, the provision of policy information can change the valence of personal candidate characteristics, turning otherwise disadvantageous background characteristics into an electoral advantage. These moderating effects of policy information may strongly affect the electoral fortunes of certain types of candidates.

Conference

ConferenceThe 8th Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association
Number8
LocationSchloss Schönbrunn
CountryAustria
CityVienna
Period21/06/201823/06/2018
Internet address

Bibliographical note

CBS Library does not have access to the material

Keywords

  • Candidate characteristics
  • Survey experiments
  • Voter behavior

Cite this

Pedersen , R. T., Dahlgaard, J. O., & Citi, M. (2018). Politicians Are People: Personal Characteristics and Policy Interact when Voters Evaluate Political Candidates. Paper presented at The 8th Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association, Vienna, Austria.
Pedersen , Rasmus Tue ; Dahlgaard, Jens Olav ; Citi, Manuele. / Politicians Are People : Personal Characteristics and Policy Interact when Voters Evaluate Political Candidates. Paper presented at The 8th Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association, Vienna, Austria.41 p.
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Politicians Are People : Personal Characteristics and Policy Interact when Voters Evaluate Political Candidates. / Pedersen , Rasmus Tue; Dahlgaard, Jens Olav ; Citi, Manuele.

2018. Paper presented at The 8th Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association, Vienna, Austria.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

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Pedersen RT, Dahlgaard JO, Citi M. Politicians Are People: Personal Characteristics and Policy Interact when Voters Evaluate Political Candidates. 2018. Paper presented at The 8th Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association, Vienna, Austria.