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Leadership Evaluations in Times of Crisis: The Case of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Recent Migration Debate

Media
Communication
Refugee
Lena Masch
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Oul Han
Universität Koblenz-Landau
Lena Masch
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Abstract

Considering the rising right-wing populism across Europe, emotions towards politics and political leaders have gained importance in the public debate. So far, few studies (e.g. Rico et al. 2017; Marcus et al. 2019) have provided empirical insights in order to understand the causal link between emotions and populist support. This study attempts to provide a deeper understanding of affective leadership evaluations by drawing on survey data and text as data. First, this paper uses data from online surveys of the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) in order to analyze self-reported feelings towards Angela Merkel and voting intentions. Second, the paper focuses on media reports of sentiments and feelings, particularly anger, towards Angela Merkel in light of the recent migration debate. By analyzing newspaper articles, a deeper understanding of public narratives can be gained and linked to the emotional reports of survey respondents — at least on an aggregated level. The analysis pays particular attention to emotional shifts over time as well as leadership attributions according to varying newspapers.