In this seminar we will look at empirical research into the effects of political scandals on voters’ attitudes and behavior. The media as well as the public in general have strong beliefs about how scandals by politicians do and should impact politics and are quick to connect electoral performance and personal misconduct. The central question of the seminar is whether there is accountability for politicians’ misconduct and what parameters influence it.
First, we will discuss relevant theories conceptualizing voter behavior as well as voter psychology that might help us explain the empirical findings. Second, we will look at recent empirical research into the effects of political scandals on voters’ attitudes as well as their voting decisions. Third, we will cover common methodological approaches and designs for studying scandal effects.
In the end, students will have a good overview of the current state of research into the effects of political scandals and will be able to make reasoned assumptions about the underlying explanations. Moreover, attendees will be able to discuss and critique empirical research designs into voter behavior.