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Platform or Personality?The Role of Party Leaders in Elections$
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Amanda Bittner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199595365

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199595365.001.0001

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(p.137) Chapter Eight Conclusion
Platform or Personality?

Amanda Bittner (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides the conclusion to the book. It returns to the normative concerns raised in the introduction, and argues that in a healthy and well-functioning democracy, voters' perceptions of leaders' characteristics ought to matter. Summing up the main findings of the book, including the importance of the partisan stereotype in influencing voters' perceptions of leaders' traits and the impact of leaders on both the individual vote calculus as well as the distribution of votes in an election, the chapter reiterates the important role of party leaders. The fact that voters' perceptions of leaders' character and competence have a consistent influence even among the most sophisticated segments of society suggests that evaluations of leaders are not simply a short-cut or tool to aid the least informed, but may provide all voters with important information that ought to be integrated into vote choice. Voters consider leaders' traits, and in a healthy democracy, so they should.

Keywords:   leaders, characteristics, traits, democracy, character, competence, partisan stereotype, political sophistication, evaluations, perceptions

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