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Candidate image and electoral preference in Britain

Shephard, Mark and Johns, R.A. (2008) Candidate image and electoral preference in Britain. British Politics, 3 (3). pp. 324-349. ISSN 1746-918X

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Abstract

The UK Electoral Commission has recommended pilot testing of ballot papers printed with photographs of the candidates. In the light of US studies showing that voters make judgements about politicians based on appearance, and that these judgements can influence vote, we conducted an experiment to explore the potential impact of candidate appearance on voting behaviour in Britain. Our findings indicate that, even controlling for the partisanship of both the MP and the respondent, trait evaluations based on appearance are significant and, in the case of 'warmth' traits like likeability and caring, powerful predictors of probability to vote. We find little evidence of electoral advantage for those candidates who 'trespass' on traits associated with the opposing party; in general, the traits rewarded in candidates vary little according to the partisanship of either the candidate or the respondent.

Item type: Article
ID code: 26855
Keywords: candidate image, trait attribution, candidate evaluation, British elections, ballot design, Political science (General), Sociology and Political Science, History, Political Science and International Relations
Subjects: Political Science > Political science (General)
Department: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) > School of Government and Public Policy > Politics
Related URLs:
    Depositing user: Catriona Mccallum
    Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2010 11:29
    Last modified: 05 Sep 2014 04:59
    URI: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/id/eprint/26855

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