Can Candidates’ Image Win Elections? A Counterfactual Assessment of Leader Effects in the Second Italian Republic
Journal of Political Marketing 12: 348-361
23 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2017
Date Written: 2013
Nowadays it is commonplace to argue that candidates’ personal characteristics play a large part in determining how individuals vote. In the domain of political marketing this assumption is often given for granted, and no clear conceptual understanding of how image crafting techniques affect voters has emerged. This article is an attempt to link political marketing’s concern for impression management strategies with our knowledge of leader effects in democratic elections. A counterfactual analysis of post-election survey data from the last three Italian elections demonstrates that political candidates can actually gain votes — and at times win elections — due to the way in which their personality profile is perceived by voters.
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