Does a Candidate’s Character Matter?

BOOK REVIEW

Candidate Character Traits in Presidential Elections, Authors: David Holian and Charles Prysby.

By Kristina Kutateli – In examining 60 years of data from the American National Election Studies, political scientist Martin P. Wattenberg finds that the electorate no longer focuses on character attributes as much as it did in years past. Whereas 80 percent of respondents had cited personal attributes in elections between 1952 and 1980, in the 2008 and 2012 elections that figure had dwindled to around 60 percent.

The nature of those comments has differed too — the study notes that mentions of candidate traits are “now more tied to partisan identification and have less of an independent impact on voting behavior.”

Rating a candidate’s popularity or likability is a complicated process. A candidate who earns high markings for integrity, for example, will often perform poorly in another dimension, such as competency.

Using traits such as integrity and competence, the data shows that there is no correlation between perceived honesty and election outcomes.

What does it mean for American politics that character isn’t that consequential — that Americans are choosing candidates they themselves describe as dishonest? more> https://goo.gl/gffccS

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