Candidate image and electoral preference in Britain

Mark Shephard, R.A. Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

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.
LanguageEnglish
Pages324-349
Number of pages26
JournalBritish Politics
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

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candidacy
voter
voting behavior
politician
experiment
evaluation
evidence
Partisanship

Keywords

  • candidate image
  • trait attribution
  • candidate evaluation
  • British elections
  • ballot design

Cite this

Shephard, Mark ; Johns, R.A. / Candidate image and electoral preference in Britain. In: British Politics. 2008 ; Vol. 3, No. 3. pp. 324-349.
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Candidate image and electoral preference in Britain. / Shephard, Mark; Johns, R.A.

In: British Politics, Vol. 3, No. 3, 09.2008, p. 324-349.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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