Comparative candidate evaluation as a function of election level and candidate incumbency
DOI: 10.1080/08934218809367468
Title: Comparative candidate evaluation as a function of election level and candidate incumbency
Journal Title: Communication Reports
Volume: Volume 1
Issue: Issue 2
Publication Date: March 1988
Start Page: 76
End Page: 85
Published online: 21 May 2009
ISSN: 0893-4215
Author: Susan A. Hellwega, Stephen W. Kingb & Steve E. Williamsc?
Affiliations:
a Professor of Speech Communication , San Diego State University ,
b Dean of the College of Communications and Professor of Information and Communication Studies , California State University , Chico
c Wavetek Corp. , San Diego
Abstract: ose of this study was to examine Comparative political candidate evaluation. Specifically, three research questions were addressed in the context of the data collected from the 1984 general election campaign: (1) do the criteria voters use in making candidate evaluations vary as a function of election level; (2) do the criteria voters use differ among candidates within the same election level; and (3) do the criteria voters use vary for incumbents and challengers within the same election level. The results of the study 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.

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