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Partisanship, leader evaluations and the vote: Disentangling the new iron triangle in electoral research


Garzia, Diego; De Angelis, Andrea (2016). Partisanship, leader evaluations and the vote: Disentangling the new iron triangle in electoral research. Comparative European Politics, 14(5):604-625.

Abstract

This article provides an empirical assessment of the causal structure underlying the core dependent variable of electoral research (the vote) and two of its most notable predictors (partisanship and leader evaluations). A critical review of traditional models of voting highlights the need to account for the reciprocal relationship between the main predictors as well as for the potential feedback stemming from the dependent variable. In the light of these considerations, a new ‘iron triangle’ of electoral research would seem to take shape, with partisanship, leader evaluations and the vote tight to each other by a strong link of reciprocal causation. Making use of pre-/post-election surveys from Britain and Italy, the empirical analysis provides evidence for a strong effect of past behavior on political attitudes. However, past behavior seems to exert its effect mainly on partisan attitudes, whereas party leader evaluations appear only slightly affected. The results point to the considerably weakened role of partisanship as attitudinal anchor of vote choice. Leader evaluations, on the contrary, emerge as a crucial component in the voting decision.

Abstract

This article provides an empirical assessment of the causal structure underlying the core dependent variable of electoral research (the vote) and two of its most notable predictors (partisanship and leader evaluations). A critical review of traditional models of voting highlights the need to account for the reciprocal relationship between the main predictors as well as for the potential feedback stemming from the dependent variable. In the light of these considerations, a new ‘iron triangle’ of electoral research would seem to take shape, with partisanship, leader evaluations and the vote tight to each other by a strong link of reciprocal causation. Making use of pre-/post-election surveys from Britain and Italy, the empirical analysis provides evidence for a strong effect of past behavior on political attitudes. However, past behavior seems to exert its effect mainly on partisan attitudes, whereas party leader evaluations appear only slightly affected. The results point to the considerably weakened role of partisanship as attitudinal anchor of vote choice. Leader evaluations, on the contrary, emerge as a crucial component in the voting decision.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:comparative political behavior, leader effects, party identification, personalization of politics, political psychology
Language:English
Date:September 2016
Deposited On:19 Feb 2024 16:12
Last Modified:31 Mar 2024 01:40
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN:1472-4790
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1057/cep.2014.36