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Title: Evaluating voters' appearance-based strategies in congressional elections
Author: Tecza, Adrienne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 3932
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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In this era of candidate-centered politics a wealth of research has shown that candidate appearance can predict electoral success. Many of these studies attribute this link to voters incorporating candidate image into their electoral decision making. Specifically, several studies have asserted that candidates who are viewed as more attractive or competent gain an electoral advantage because they draw voters who lack partisan affiliations or lack the political sophistication necessary to utilize more complex cues - such as candidate ideology. Utilizing survey data of voters and data from the U.S. House of Representatives, this project combines theories from electoral studies, cognitive psychology, and evolutionary leadership research to investigate the degree to which candidate appearance influences vote-choice. Evidence from this thesis suggests that while unaffiliated and unsophisticated voters are the most likely to change their vote choice on the basis of candidate appearance, they are also the least likely to convert that preference into meaningful political action. This thesis adds to the literature on candidate appearance by suggesting a new mechanism through which positive candidate image leads to electoral success - by increasing the enthusiasm of all voters for a candidate, and thus bolstering mobilization efforts and voter turnout.
Supervisor: Johnson, Dominic Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available