Leaders without Partisans examines the changing impact of party leader evaluations on voters’ behavior in parliamentary elections. The decline of traditional social cleavages, the pervasive mediatization of the political scene, and the media’s growing tendency to portray politics in “personalistic” terms all led to the hypothesis that leaders matter more for the way individuals vote and, often, the way elections turn out. This study offers the most comprehensive longitudinal assessment of this hypothesis so far. The authors develop a composite theoretical framework – based on currently disconnected strands of research from party, media, and electoral studies – and test it empirically on the most encompassing set of national election study datasets ever assembled. The labor-intensive harmonization effort produces an unprecedented dataset pooling information for a total of 129 parliamentary elections conducted between 1961 and 2018 in 14 West European countries.
The book provides evidence of the longitudinal growth in leader effects on vote choice and on turnout. The process of partisan dealignment and changes in the structure of mass communication in Western societies are identified as the main drivers of personalization in voting behavior.
Diego Garzia is an SNSF Professor of Political Science at the University of Lausanne. He currently serves as founding convenor of the ECPR Research Network on Voting Advice Applications and as a member of the Scientific Committee of the Italian National Election Study (ITANES).
Frederico Ferreira da Silva is a Senior SNSF Researcher at the University of Lausanne.
Andrea De Angelis is a Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the University of Lucerne. He is also Associate Editor at Frontiers in Political Science.
Foreword, Russell J. Dalton And Martin P. Wattenberg
Chapter 1: Party Change, Media Change and Electoral Change
Chapter 2: Patterns of Partisan Dealignment
Chapter 3: The Personalization of Party Choice
Chapter 4: Voting in the Television Age
Chapter 5: Voting in the Digital Age
Chapter 6: The Rise of Negative Personalization
Chapter 7: The Changing Nature of the Personalization of Politics
Appendix A: An Introduction to the “West European Voter” Dataset
Appendix B: Detailed List of National Election Studies Included in the Pooled Dataset
Appendix C: List of Parties Included in the Stacked Data Matrix Analysis (By Country and Election Year)
Appendix D: Question Wording for Party Identification (By Country and Election Year)
Appendix E: Question Wording for Party Leader Thermometer Evaluations (By Country and Election Year)
Appendix F: Question Wording for Newspaper Consumption Items (By Country and Election Year)
Appendix G: Question Wording for Television Consumption Items (By Country and Election Year)
Appendix H: Question Wording for Online News Consumption Items (By Country and Election Year)
The most significant development in electoral behavior research over the past several decades has been the decline in citizens’ attachments to political parties, which creates new patterns of electoral politics in a dealigned era. Leaders without Partisans analyses these dealignment trends, and more importantly the implications of dealignment and the interactions with other processes of change.