How Political Scandals Affect the Electorate. Tracing the Eroding and Spillover Effects of Scandals with a Panel Study

| Authors: , , | | ,
Abstract

Political scandals are highly relevant for political decision-making and democratic processes more generally. While most prior research employed experimental and cross-sectional survey studies, we tested the effects of a political scandal in the context of the 2017 Austrian Parliamentary Elections using panel data (N = 559, both waves). Importantly, we used a unique data set collected before and just after a major scandal broke in the final election phase. Drawing on a motivated reasoning perspective, attribution theory, and the inclusion/exclusion model, our results revealed a scandal-eroding effect particularly damaging a candidate’s own base of supporters and leaving followers in disappointment. The findings also showed a negative scandal-spillover effect for candidate supporters high in scandal knowledge decreasing political trust toward other politicians. Importantly, the results revealed that negative candidate evaluations are not a necessary precondition for negative spillover effects on political trust more generally.


von Sikorski, C., Heiss, R., & Matthes, J. (2020). How political scandals affect the electorate. Tracing the eroding and spillover effects of scandals with a panel study. Political Psychology, 41(3), 549-568.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/pops.12638

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>