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ERIC Number: ED318049
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1986-May
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Comparative Candidate Evaluation as a Function of Election Level and Candidate Incumbency.
Hellweg, Susan A.; And Others
A study examined the evaluative structures employed by voters in making decisions about political contenders, specifically as a function of the level of the election involved and the incumbent-challenger status of the candidates. Data were obtained by questionnaires administered within two weeks prior to the 1984 general election to 550 undergraduate students of voting age at a large western university. The questionnaires were designed to assess subject evaluations of eight sources: presidential candidates Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale; vice-presidential candidates George Bush and Geraldine Ferraro; San Diego mayoral candidates Roger Hedgecock and Dick Carlson; and San Diego judicial candidates William Mudd and Mary Franklin. Competence emerged as the primary factor only at the presidential level, while character emerged as the primary factor for both vice-presidential and mayoral campaigns. The results suggest that incumbent positioning does make a difference in perceptual criteria formation for candidates (such that the incumbent may set the agenda for the challenger), that such criteria are idiosyncratic to individual candidates and election contexts, but that accurate predictions can be made of voting behavior once these idiosyncratic criteria are known. (Nine tables of data are included.) (KEH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California