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Candidate perception communication and voting choice (rome 2015)

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Candidate-based voting is affected by contextual, political and individual factors.
Candidate evaluation weighs more in vote choice when other elements are absent or less informative to voters.

The perception of candidates's personality dimensions differentially affects their evaluation.
The negativity effect applied to candidate perception results in varying diagnosticity of different dimensions in candidate evaluation.

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Candidate perception communication and voting choice (rome 2015)

  1. 1. Candidate perception, communication, and voting choice Patrizia Catellani and Mauro Bertolotti Comparative Perspectives on Electoral Behaviour: The Impact of the Electoral and Party System. Academia Belgica, Rome, 16-18 September 2015
  2. 2. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Factors in vote choice VOT E MACR O MICRO DISTANT Rokkan, 1982 -Party system -Electoral laws -Socio-economic and territorial cleavages -Economic climate -Salient political issues -Perception of leaders -Ideology -Political alignment -Socio political values -Cognitive factors -Affective factors -Motivational factors PROXIMA L
  3. 3. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Factors in vote choice VOT E MACR O MICRO DISTANT Rokkan, 1982 -Party system -Electoral laws -Socio-economic and territorial cleavages -Economic climate -Salient political issues -Perception of leaders -Ideology -Political alignment -Socio political values -Cognitive factors -Affective factors -Motivational factors PROXIMA L
  4. 4. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Research questions O Does candidate evaluation affect vote choice? O Does the effect depend on the political context? O Does the effect depend on the candidate? O Does the effect depend on voters' characteristics? O How does the perception of candidates affect their evaluation and vote choice? O Does the effect depend on the political context? O Does the effect depend on the candidate? O Does the effect depend on voters' characteristics?
  5. 5. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Candidate-based voting Candidate evaluation is a widely used heuristic among voters (Lau & Redlawsk, 2001; Marcus, Neuman, & McKuen, 2000). Attention to candidates in vote choice is increased by: O The personalisation and mediatization of politics (Hallin & Mancini, 2004; Mazzoleni & Schulz, 1999; Strömbäck, 2008). O A shift towards electoral systems that emphasise the role of candidates/leaders (Poguntke & Webb, 2007).
  6. 6. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Sources of candidate evaluation O Voters use available cues to detect candidates’ dispositions and make inferences regarding their likely behaviour if elected in office. O Basic features of candidates: O age, gender, race, physical appearance, clothing (Rosenberg, Bohan, McCafferty, & Harris, 1986; Rosenberg & Kahn, 1987). O More subtle features of candidates’ demeanor: O speech, tone of voice, nonverbal behaviour (De Landtsheer, 2000, 2004; De Landtsheer, De Vries, & Vertessen, 2008). O Information regarding candidates' affiliation to relevant social groups: O Wealth, religion, profession (Miller, Wattenberg, & Malanchuk, 1986). O Candidates' personality traits: O competence, integrity, reliability, charisma (Miller et al., 1986).
  7. 7. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Self-reported factors in vote choice Miller, Wattenberg, Malanchuk, 1986
  8. 8. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Method We compared data from the latest American and Italian electoral surveys: O ANES 2012 (N = 5914) O ITANES 2013 (N = 1508) Main variables: O Vote choice: voting intention (ANES), self-reported vote choice (ITANES) O Candidate evaluation: 100-point feeling thermometer (ANES), 11-point rating (ITANES) O Candidate perception (traits): leadership, competence, morality, sociability (ANES & ITANES) O Ideology: liberal-conservative (ANES), left-right (ITANES) O Political sophistication: political knowledge, political interest (ITANES), interest in the campaign (ANES)
  9. 9. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Vote choice as a function of ideology and candidate evaluation Democratic Presidential Candidate Republican Presidential Candidate B Exp(B) p B Exp(B) p Constant -.792 .453 .000 -1.914 .148 .000 Ideology -.414 .661 .000 .729 2.072 .000 Candidate Evaluation 2.491 12.072 .000 2.440 11.471 .000 Nagelkerke R2 .643 .665
  10. 10. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Vote choice as a function of ideology and candidate evaluation Centre-Left Coalition Centre-Right Coalition 5-Star Movement Civic Choice B Exp(B ) p B Exp(B ) p B Exp(B ) p B Exp(B ) p Constant -1.658 .191 .000 -1.879 .153 .000 -1.988 .137 .000 -3.703 .025 .000 Ideology -1.361 .256 .000 1.398 4.046 .000 -.332 .718 .002 .434 1.543 .006 Leader Eval. 1.292 3.639 .000 1.712 5.539 .000 2.020 7.539 .000 2.102 8.179 .000
  11. 11. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Vote choice as a function of political sophistication 2.528 2.357 .747 .705 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Low High Vote for Romney 2.308 2.616.295 .486 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Low High Vote for Obama Political Sophistication Political Sophistication Ideology Candidate eval.
  12. 12. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 2.425 1.843 .534 .333 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Low High Five-star Movement 2.158 1.913 .289 .378 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Low High Civic Choice Vote choice as a function of political sophistication 1.367 1.255 1.310 1.439 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Low High Centre-left 1.721 1.707 1.397 1.404 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Low High Centre-right Ideology Candidate eval.
  13. 13. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Candidate perception O Two fundamental dimensions in social judgements (Cuddy, Judd & Yzerbyt, 2008; Cuddy, Fiske & Glick, 2008; Wojciszke, 2005). O Some findings indicate that the same bi-dimensional scheme applies to candidate perception (Caprara, Barbaranelli, & Zimbardo, 1999; 2002; Cislak & Wojciszke, 2008). Agency Communion
  14. 14. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Agency Communion More dimensions? O Recent research has showed that individuals make more nuanced judgments, based on specific sub-dimensions within the Big Two dimensions (Leach, Ellemers, & Barreto, 2007; Brambilla et al., 2011; Carrier et al, 2014) O These sub-dimensions had already emerged in research on candidate perception (Kinder, 1986; Miller et al., 1986; Pierce, 1993). O The American National Election Studies (ANES) have been regularly measuring them since the 1980's. Morality SociabilityLeadership Competenc e strong leader knowledgeable honest empathetic
  15. 15. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Perceived traits of American presidential candidates 1980-2004 1.80 2.00 2.20 2.40 2.60 2.80 3.00 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 Leadership Sociability Hayes, 2005 1.80 2.00 2.20 2.40 2.60 2.80 3.00 80 84 88 92 96 00 04 Leadership Sociability
  16. 16. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Perceived traits of Italian centre-right and centre-left leaders 2001-2008 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 2001 2006 2008 % Rutelli/Prodi/ Veltroni 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 2001 2006 2008 Berlusconi Leadership Competence Sociability Morality Barisione, Catellani e Garzia, 2014
  17. 17. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Candidate perception 2012-2013 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8 3.0 Obama Romney 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Leadership Competence Morality Sociability
  18. 18. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 The relative importance of personality dimensions O Several studies found a general primacy of morality in social judgements (Abele & Wojciszke, 2007; Leach, et al., 2007; Brambilla et al., 2011). O The primacy of morality is moderated by contextual factors, such as actor/observer status, interdependence, etc... (Wojcizke, 2005; Abele & Bruckmuller, 2011). O Which dimension is more important in the political context? O Some research indicates that morality is more important in the evaluation of politicians (Cislak & Wojciszke, 2008; Catellani & Bertolotti, 2014; 2015)...
  19. 19. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 The relative importance of personality dimensions O ...Other studies found perceived competence to be a better predictor of candidate evaluation and vote choice (Todorov, et al., 2005; Antonakis & Dalgas, 2009; Castelli, et al., 2009; Johns & Shephard, 2011; Olivola & Todorov, 2010). O Further research showed that the effect is strong only among less politically involved voters (Lenz & Lawson, 2011).
  20. 20. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 The relative importance of personality dimensions O The relative importance of candidates' personality dimensions might depend their political affiliation (Hayes, 2005). O Voters have certain expectations regarding candidates' personalities, based on party tradition ("trait ownership"): O Leadership (Rep.) vs. Sociability (Dem.) (Hayes, 2005) O Leadership (centre-right) vs. morality (centre-left) (Caprara et al., 2007). O Candidates' deviations from these stereotypical expectations are particularly salient. O Reminiscent of the negativity effect phenomenon (Baumeister, et al., 2001; Peeters & Czapinski, 1990).
  21. 21. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Leader evaluation as a function of personality perception 0.207 0.313 0.109 0.058 0.252 0.272 0.325 0.303 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1 RomneyObama Sociability Morality Competence Leadership 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4 2.6 2.8 3.0 Obama Romney
  22. 22. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Leader evaluation as a function of personality perception 0.001 0.171 0.144 0.008 0.131 0.212 0.06 0.261 0.46 0.197 0.322 0.289 0.264 0.205 0.255 0.194 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 Berlusconi Bersani Monti Grillo Sociability Morality Competence Leadership 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 Berlusconi Bersani Grillo Monti
  23. 23. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Candidate impression management Candidates actively try to influence voters' perception of them through: O Appearance O Behaviour O Speech Some voters are more attentive than others to these attempts (Pierce, 1993; Bertolotti et al., 2013).
  24. 24. Catellani & BertolottiAcademia Belgica, 16-18 September 2015 Conclusions O Candidate-based voting is affected by contextual, political and individual factors. O Candidate evaluation weighs more in vote choice when other elements are absent or less informative to voters. O The perception of candidates's personality dimensions differentially affects their evaluation. O The negativity effect applied to candidate perception results in varying diagnosticity of different dimensions in candidate evaluation.

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