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The (Un)Importance of Party Leaders: Leader Images and Party Choice in the 1987 British Election

Marianne C. Stewart and Harold D. Clarke
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 54, No. 2 (May, 1992), pp. 447-470
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2132034
Page Count: 24
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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.
The (Un)Importance of Party Leaders: Leader Images and Party Choice in the 1987 British Election
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Abstract

Most research has deemphasized the influence of leader images on British voting. This paper uses the 1987 British Campaign Study data to investigate the structure of leader images and the determinants of electoral choice. Confirmatory factor analyses reveal two image dimensions--competence and responsiveness. These dimensions were associated more closely for the opposition leaders than for the prime minister. Multivariate analyses show that leader images had strong effects on party choice. Practical wisdom about party leaders should inform credible models of party support in an era of partisan dealignment.

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