Gender differences in Assessments of Party Leaders

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Is there a relationship between party leader gender and voters' assessments? Yes, according to theses on gender identity and stereotyping. A voter survey during the 2011 Danish general election allows for a comprehensive analysis of a less likely case with four male and four female party leaders. Female party leaders are assessed more positively by female voters than male voters both in regard to general party leader sympathy and assessment of specific characteristics, whereas it is not the case that male party leaders are assessed more positively by male voters than female voters. The impact of gender does not increase with age, actually, the opposite is the case among men since younger male voters have smaller sympathy for female party leaders. Furthermore, there is no support for the expectation that voters with more education or with higher levels of political interest and knowledge are more positive towards party leaders of their own gender than voters with less education. Also, the relationship between gender and voters’ assessments is not stronger prior to the election campaign than immediately after the election. Hence, in sum, gender identity does not seem to require a higher level of political sophistication nor does it decrease with higher levels of information.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Political Studies
Volume38
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)26-48
Number of pages23
ISSN0080-6757
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

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