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Gendered Party Leadership – and the impact on electoral support

Karina Kosiara-Pedersen
University of Copenhagen
Karina Kosiara-Pedersen
University of Copenhagen
Open Panel

Abstract

Political parties are male dominated; however, an increasing number of women reach the top position of party leader. At the same time party leadership is increasingly seen as an important part of party images due to the personalization of politics. What is the impact on parties’ electoral support? On the basis of a survey among the Danish electorate, this paper analyzes to what extent male and female voters differ in their assessments of parties and party leaders. The independent variable is the gender of the voter, and the controls include all the ‘usual suspects’ in explaining voting behavior, such as age, education, political opinions, political interest, political knowledge etc. The dependent variables are party sympathy, party vote, party leader sympathy and characteristics attributed party leaders. In sum the paper shows that there are gender differences in the assessments and hence that the gender of party leadership has an impact on the electoral support.