Ann N. Crigler and Parker R. Hevron
Whether political observers and participants applaud or decry the presence of emotions in political decision-making, scholars have begun to view the relationship between affect and reason as a key component of decision-making. This chapter provides an overview of the research on affect and political choice. The authors argue that emotions undergird acts of political choice, not simply as additional variables to explain preferences or actions but also as integral to the processing of information and decision-making. They briefly define affect, emotion and mood and outline some of the methodologies commonly used to measure each of the four emotion functions that are central to political communication and choice. These four functions of emotion – expressive, perceptual/attentional, appraisal, and behavioral – are discussed in relation to political decision-making.
Public opinion’s role in shaping governmental actions is a central concern of democracy, yet the absence of systematic state-level survey data has inhibited analyses of public opinion at the subnational level. This essay traces the evolution of studies of public opinion at that level, first reviewing studies using surrogates derived from demographic variables. It next considers methodologies that develop state-level opinion from aggregated national samples. Finally, it discusses recent efforts to develop state-level opinion measures using post-sample stratification integrating limited survey data with demographic variables. There is evidence of significant cross-sectional and temporal variation in public opinion and policy across and within the states. Research on subnational public opinion once hinged on assumptions about opinion surrogates, but is now based on abundant and progressively rigorous opinion data. These studies reveal that public opinion plays an enormous role in subnational politics, with effects varying across issues, contexts, and conditions.
This chapter reviews the state of the art in at-a-distance analysis. This methodology originated in attempts by psychologists and students of policy-making and international relations to understand and predict a national or government’s policy choices by studying the verbal behaviour of key government leaders. It has since widened into an array of methods that have also found use in areas such as candidate assessment. Several key methods are presented, as are some of the key critiques and rebuttals around the issue of inferring personality characteristics from speeches and then using those to explain government policies and state behaviours. The chapter ends by critically assessing the state of the art in the field and by presenting some possible and needed advances.
This chapter reviews the historical development of the genre of biography in relation to the social sciences, and discusses the debates about its utility in the study of leadership. Taking key examples, it explores the contrast between the ‘common-sense, humane tradition’ said to be the bedrock of biography, and more theoretically informed approaches (especially leadership typologies, psychobiographies, and the ‘interpretive turn’) in the ways that questions of leadership are addressed. Developments in biographical methodology are a core concern. Biography, it is argued, need not be driven by an ‘individual journey’ but can be oriented to questions germane to political enquiry, especially questions of leader efficacy, achievement, or dysfunction.
Matthew Cawvey, Matthew Hayes, Damarys Canache, and Jeffery J. Mondak
Levels of interpersonal and political trust undoubtedly ebb and flow in response to external stimuli. Despite the variability in one’s environment, there is good reason to believe that interpersonal and political trust also originate from individual characteristics. In this chapter, we focus on the impact of biology and personality on trust. Biological factors and personality traits constitute relatively stable individual differences that influence perceptions, evaluations, and orientations toward the social and political world. Research on trust has examined both of these influences, and we review this literature below. The first section considers the role of biology in shaping trust, and the second examines trust as a dimension of personality and as an individual orientation that can be shaped by personality. We then present a brief statistical analysis of the impact of personality traits on interpersonal and political trust. The last section summarizes the discussion and suggests avenues for future research.
David Brulé, Alex Mintz, and Karl DeRouen
This chapter focuses on the decision-making models and biases used to explain the decisions of political leaders with a particular emphasis on foreign-policy decisions. We summarize some of the key debates and criticisms of the various approaches. Various models and theories are considered: rational choice theory, bounded rationality/cybernetic, organizational process model, bureaucratic politics model, prospect theory, and poliheuristic theory. Several biases are discussed: personality and beliefs, groupthink, polythink, and summary approaches. We conclude with a detailed discussion of the rational–cognitive debate as well as some thoughts for future progress in decision-making analysis.
Andrew Flanagin and Miriam J. Metzger
The rich research heritage on source credibility is fundamentally linked to processes of political communication and the provision of political information. Networked digital technologies, however, have recently complicated the assessment of source credibility by modifying people’s ability to determine source expertise and trustworthiness, which are the foundations upon which credibility evaluations have traditionally rested. This chapter explores source credibility in online contexts by examining the credibility of digital versus traditional channels, the nature of political information conveyed by social media, and the dynamics of political information online. In addition, this chapter considers related research concerns, including the link between credibility and selective exposure, the potential for group polarization, and the role of social media in seeking and delivering credible political information. These concerns suggest challenges and opportunities as information consumers navigate the contemporary information environment in search of the knowledge to make them informed members of a politically engaged citizenry.
Michael S. Lewis-Beck and Charles Tien
This article offers a new way to evaluate the pros and cons of predicting US presidential elections: the long view versus the short view. Election forecasters who take the long view stress electoral theory and lead time, examining model performance over several contests. For this view, an overarching goal remains knowledge of how the electoral process works. In contrast, forecasters who take the short view stress accuracy exclusively. Forecasts are made repeatedly, especially near the election. The short view depends increasingly on polls until nothing else matters. The short view also risks setting back the study of elections, for example, fostering the idea of an unstable, even volatile electorate, even though American voters have shown great stability. Finally, the short view forgets the lesson that most variation in national election outcomes can be predicted, even explained, by established rules of political behavior.
Eeva Luhtakallio and Nina Eliasoph
The ethnographic approach has particular potential for studying political communication through enlarging understandings of political institutions and expanding definitions of “politics.” First, widening institutional understanding takes advantage of ethnography’s capacity to open windows that traditional analysis of political institutions leaves shut. Second, ethnography is uniquely able to examine new forms of engagement that people have not yet defined as “politics.” Third, studying political communication ethnographically means expanding the modes of communication and activity examined to include nonverbal and virtual communication. Politics is one of the principal arenas in which “culture” unfolds and becomes observable, yet in ways that are not limited to political institutions or decision-making practices. Common to political ethnographies is the capability to show how “how” and “why” are linked: how a political process or practice takes place enables finding out why it does.
Anthony M. Salvanto
This chapter considers exit polls from a researcher’s perspective, pointing out how it compares in terms of operation and sampling to more conventional pre-election polling and speculating about what future exit polling in the United States might look like. The chapter discusses the practical steps taken today to conduct post-election exit polling in the United States. Taken as a research study in itself, it discusses how exit polling might adapt over time in the context of the explosion in new data sources, lists, and new technologies, and—importantly—accounting for changes in the way Americans go to the polls, which is increasingly not on Election Day at all, but in the days or weeks to it or by mail or absentee ballot.
This chapter provides an overview of the experimental study of leadership historically, describing a few seminal studies that outline the central concepts and debates in the field. Very little work has been done in this area involving real political leaders because of ethical and logistical constraints. However, some experimental work on the nature of followership appears relevant, because public perception often determines who becomes elevated to positions of leadership. The chapter then describes some critical challenges and opportunities confronting the use of experiments to investigate political leadership, including the many different kinds of leadership that exist, and how leadership may change across domains of decision-making. A discussion of some possible future directions in this area concludes the chapter, including further exploration of the biological basis of leadership.
Jean-Robert Tyran and Alexander K. Wagner
Standard economic reasoning assumes that people vote instrumentally—i.e., that the sole motivation to vote is to influence the outcome of an election. In contrast, voting is expressive if voters derive utility from the very act of expressing support for one of the options by voting for it, and this utility is independent of whether the vote affects the outcome. This chapter surveys experimental tests of expressive voting with a particular focus on the low-cost theory of expressive voting. The evidence for the low-cost theory of expressive voting is mixed.
Dan Cassino, Milton Lodge, and Charles S. Taber
This chapter reviews recent work on implicit political attitudes, detailing how, when, and why unconscious processes impact the explicit expression of political beliefs, attitudes, and preferences. The authors begin by discussing thresholds of awareness, defining implicit attitudes and how the circumstances under which they reach conscious awareness. The ubiquity of unconscious effects in everyday life is considered, and two research paradigms for measuring implicit attitudes are discussed. The resulting dual-process model, in which influences can be either conscious or subconscious, allows us to understand how sensory input works its way through the mind to influence attitudes and behaviors in ways that are rarely evident to the individual. These influences often include factors that the individual would never consider as being important, but nevertheless hold enormous power over effortful decision-making.
This article discusses left–right orientations; the left–right dimension has been described as a ‘shorthand’ device that helps facilitate comparisons through space and time. It first examines the acceptability of left and right and the referents of left and right. The last two sections of the article focus on the blurring and the resilience of left and right. It is noted that the left–right schema was able to offer something in structure and substance that helped facilitate efficient communication and orientation.
D. Sunshine Hillygus and Steven Snell
Longitudinal or panel surveys, in which the same individuals are interviewed repeatedly over time, are increasingly common in the social sciences. The benefit of such surveys is that they track the same respondents so that researchers can measure individual-level change over time, offering greater causal leverage than cross-sectional surveys. Panel surveys share the challenges of other surveys while also facing several unique issues in design, implementation, and analysis. This chapter considers three such challenges: (1) the tension between continuity and innovation in the questionnaire design; (2) panel attrition, whereby some individuals who complete the first wave of the survey fail to participate in subsequent waves; and (3) specific types of measurement error—panel conditioning and seam bias. It includes an overview of these issues and their implications for data quality and outlines approaches for diagnosing and correcting for these issues in the design and analysis of panel surveys.
Although group consciousness is an important concept in explaining political behavior, both theoretical guidance on how to measure group consciousness and empirical consensus regarding its operationalization are lacking. This has the potential to lead to both diverging results and inaccurate empirical conclusions, which greatly limits the ability to understand the role that group consciousness plays in politics. Using data from Pew’s 2013 “Survey of LGBT Americans,” this analysis provides a foundation for measuring group consciousness using item response theory (IRT). Through an examination of dimensionality, monotonicity, model fit, and differential item functioning, the results demonstrate that many assumptions about measuring group consciousness have been incorrect. Further, the findings suggest that previous conclusions about subgroup differences may be the result of survey bias, rather than actual between-group differences. Moving forward, scholars of political behavior should use IRT to measure latent constructs.
Marko Klašnja, Pablo Barberá, Nick Beauchamp, Jonathan Nagler, and Joshua A. Tucker
This chapter examines the use of social networking sites such as Twitter in measuring public opinion. It first considers the opportunities and challenges that are involved in conducting public opinion surveys using social media data. Three challenges are discussed: identifying political opinion, representativeness of social media users, and aggregating from individual responses to public opinion. The chapter outlines some of the strategies for overcoming these challenges and proceeds by highlighting some of the novel uses for social media that have fewer direct analogs in traditional survey work. Finally, it suggests new directions for a research agenda in using social media for public opinion work.
The observation of a political leadership is associated with ethnographic investigation and interpretation. This chapter argues that the observation of political leadership practices, alongside extended conversations and the analysis of artefacts and documents, allows the researcher to provide a rich ‘thick description’ of the inner world of powerful elites, their decision-making, and their interactions. The use of observational analysis to research political leadership is relatively rare, as achieving access is difficult for researchers without official sanction or personal connections. Nevertheless, many observational studies of national and local, elected and non-elected political and administrative leadership have been undertaken, providing insights that temper more deterministic rational choice, institutional, and constitutional theories of political leadership. In settings where political agency and individual judgement are both interesting and impactful, observational research can provide insights on political leadership unavailable through other means. Observing political leaders not only serves to triangulate other data but can uncover the important informal ‘rules of the game’ and remind us that the interpretation of the ‘organization of political life’ makes a difference, as well as reminding us of the opportunities for powerful, resource-rich actors to exercise agency even in circumstances of constraint.
Jerrold M. Post
This chapter discusses the tradition of personality profiling in leadership analysis: its origins, rationale, and methodology. It then presents three key political personality types: the narcissistic, the obsessive–compulsive, and the paranoid. Each type is illustrated with pertinent research and a historical example.
Political leaders in modern network society are faced with a growing gap between the front stage of a mediatized political world on the one hand and the daily practical life of networks on the other hand. The mediatized world asks for political leaders who can communicate their messages in clear ‘sound bites’, who can adapt swiftly to new developments and ‘media hypes’, and who can create attractive brands which arouse positive associations with citizens and voters. The complex world of networks requires skillful negotiators who are dedicated to a long and complex decision-making process and are able to manage these processes. This chapter will deal with the tension between the front stage of the mediatized politics and the back stage of ‘real life’ policy making in networks. Based on the available literature it shows what is needed to be successful both front- and back-stage and identifies tensions between the two.