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Ronni Abney, James Adams, Michael Clark, Malcolm Easton, Lawrence Ezrow, Spyros Kosmidis, and Anja Neundorf, "When does valence matter? Heightened valence effects for governing parties during election campaigns," Party Politics, 19 (January, 2013), 61-82. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol19/issue1/ ]

First paragraph:
Several recent empirical studies have analysed how party elites' character-based attributes such as competence, integrity and party unity--attributes that we label character-based valence (Stone and Simas, 2010)--affect parties' electoral support. These studies document the electoral effects of character-based valence both for candidate-centred elections in the United States (e.g. Mondak, 1995; Stone and Simas, 2010) and for party-centred elections in Europe (Clark, 2009). We extend this line of research to ask the following questions: When do media reports that reflect on governing party elites' character-based valence attributes influence public support for these parties? And, how large are these effects? We report pooled, time-series analyses of media reports and governing party support from six European polities which bear on these questions.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Descriptive statistics
Table 2. Explaining governing parties' support
Appendix A. Countries, years and parties for which valence scores were coded

Last Paragraph:
Our findings in support of the Campaign Effects Hypothesis support the arguments advanced by Gelman and King (1993) and by Andersen et al. (2005) that voters seek out and process political information more efficiently during election campaigns. In particular, our results extend these authors' focus on positional policy issues to character- based considerations relating to party elites' competence, integrity and unity. Our findings, in conjunction with those of Andersen et al. and by Gelman and King, thereby suggest that voters display enhanced abilities to acquire all types of political information during election campaigns. The findings that we report supporting the Campaign Effects Result suggest that the electoral effects of valence-based media coverage are consequential, and thus we hope that our findings will encourage follow-up research on the effects of character-based valence.

Last updated December 2012