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Leadership Effects in Parliamentary Elections in Australia and Britain

Clive Bean and Anthony Mughan
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 83, No. 4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 1165-1179
DOI: 10.2307/1961663
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1961663
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Leadership Effects in Parliamentary Elections in Australia and Britain
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Abstract

Political party leaders are an increasingly influential electoral force in contemporary liberal democracies. We test the hypothesis that their appeal is idiosyncratic, that is, that their electoral effect is a function of the leadership qualities voters perceive individual candidates as possessing. Thus, the less similar their personality profiles, the more the characteristics influencing the vote should differ from one leader to another. A comparison of Australia and Britain finds the opposite to be the case. Despite the divergent profiles of party leaders, the precise characteristics influencing the vote are remarkably similar in the two countries. This does not mean, however, that variation in the distribution of these characteristics is unimportant. It can affect the balance of the party vote and may even have been the difference between victory and defeat for the Australian Labor party in the closely fought 1987 election.

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