Skip to content

Feelings about party leaders as a voter's heuristic – what happens when the leaders change? A note

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalElectoral Studies
Early online date15 Dec 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 6 Dec 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 15 Dec 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jun 2019


Recent analyses of voting at British general elections deploy a valence theory according to which electors evaluate each party's performance and policies and vote accordingly. Many voters, however, avoid at least some of the effort involved in assembling and assessing information about parties' policies and instead use heuristics such as their feelings about the party leaders as major determinants of their decisions. When party leaders are changed, therefore, differences in voters' feelings about predecessor and successor could lead to changes in party choice. That argument is tested for the 2015 and 2017 British general elections in England, between which all three largest parties changed their leader, with results entirely consistent with the argument. In addition, there were significant changes in feelings about the new party leaders during the six weeks of the 2017 campaign, and these too were linked to final voting choices in the expected directions.

    Research areas

  • Voting, England, Heuristics, Party leaders, Feelings



  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Elsevier at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 310 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 15/06/20

    Request copy

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups