The impact of the partisan stereotype
This chapter explores the extent to which a characteristic possessed by leaders — namely, the party label under which they run — has an influence on how they are perceived by voters. Building on a literature that suggests that parties tend to ‘own’ issues, this chapter examines the possibility that trait ownership may exist as well. The analysis suggests that the party label does indeed act as a cue, and points to the existence of a partisan stereotype. This partisan stereotype exists even when accounting for a voter's level of political sophistication, as voters perceive leaders of conservative parties to hold strengths in the competence dimension, while left leaders are perceived to have strengths on the character dimension. Voters of all political stripes perceive leaders' traits according to this partisan stereotype.
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