Kees Aarts, André Blais and Hermann Schmitt  
  Political Leaders and Democratic Elections vergrößerte Ansicht in neuem Fenster  
  Comparative Politics  
  264 p., New York, Oxford University Press Inc., 2011  

ISBN: 978-0-19-925900-7


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Notes on Contributors


Political Leaders and Democratic Elections unravels and evaluates the importance of political leaders in the vote decision. Outcomes of legislative elections are typically reported in terms of party support: how many votes and seats were obtained by each party? But in fact voters are faced with three choices which must be folded into one. They must decide which party they prefer, but in doing so they also choose among the policies advocated by these parties, and among the leaders who eventually have to enact them. This simple fact raises the question of the relative weight of these dimensions in vote choice, and particularly the relative importance of leaders. Surprisingly, the question has been largely neglected in the vast literature on voting behavior. The dominant traditions in voting behavior focus on political parties and party identification, and on political issues and ideology respectively. This volume systematically assesses the role of political leaders in the vote decision in nine democracies (Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United States), over a period of up to 50 years, using election surveys. It assesses the changes in political communication (particularly the rise of televized politics) over the past decades. It explains how important political leaders are in different types of political systems. It shows that the electoral system and other political institutions do affect the share of leader evaluations in vote choice. And it shows, in contrast with popular wisdom, how unimportant characteristics of the leaders themselves, characteristics of their parties, and characteristics of their voters are for vote choice. Finally, the volume shows that voters tend to let themselves be guided by the leaders they like rather than being pushed away from those they dislike.


List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Contributors

1. Political Leaders and Democratic Elections
André Blais

2. Changing Patterns of Political Communication
Dieter Ohr

3. Party Leader Effects on the Vote
Sören Holmberg and Henrik Oscarsson

4. Political Leaders in Westminster Systems
Ian McAllister

5. US Party Leaders: Exploring the Meaning of Candidate-Centered Politics
Martin Wattenberg

6. Elections as Beauty Contests: Do the Rules Matter?
John Curtice and Sarinder Hunjan

7. Leader Effects and Party Characteristics
Bernt Aardal and Tanja Binder

8. Leader Effects and the Impact of Leader Characteristics in Nine Countries
Richard Nadeau and Neil Nevitte

9. Voter Characteristics and Leader Effects
Elisabeth Gidengil

10. Pull or Push? The Relative Impact of Positive and Negative Leader Evaluations and Vote Choice
Kees Aarts and André Blais

11. Leader Traits, Leader Image, and Vote Choice
Dieter Ohr and Henrik Oscarsson


Notes on Contributors:

Bernt Aardal, Senior researcher at the Institute for Social Research, Oslo

Kees Aarts, Professor of Political Science at the University of Twente and Scientific Director of the Institute of Innovation and Governance Studies

Tanja Binder, doctoral candidate in the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, research unit Democracy: Structures, performance, challenges

André Blais, Canada Research Chair in Electoral Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Montreal

John Curtice, Professor of Politics and Deputy-Director of CREST, University of Strathclyde

Elisabeth Gidengil, Professor of Political Science at McGill University and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship

Sören Holmberg, Professor of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg

Sarinder Hunjan, was affiliated with the Social Statistics Laboratory of the University of Strathclyde

Ian McAllister, Professor of Political Science in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University

Richard Nadeau, Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Montreal

Neil Nevitte, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

Dieter Ohr, Professor of Methods of Empirical Social Research, Free University Berlin

Henrik Oscarsson, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg

Hermann Schmitt, Professor of Political Science at the University of Mannheim and Research Fellow at MZES

Martin P. Wattenberg, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine