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How voters assess elite-educated politicians: A survey experiment

Gift, TC; Lastra-Anadón, CX; (2018) How voters assess elite-educated politicians: A survey experiment. Electoral Studies , 56 pp. 136-149. 10.1016/j.electstud.2018.09.004. Green open access

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Abstract

Are politicians with elite backgrounds more electable? In this article, we test whether being an elite is a net positive or negative in running for public office via an original survey experiment that manipulates one of the most salient indicators of eliteness in American life: university education. We find that liberals, but not conservatives, perceive politicians who attended elite schools to be more competent. Meanwhile, conservatives, but not liberals, perceive politicians who attended elite schools to be less relatable. On average, citizens are mildly, but not significantly, less inclined to vote for elite-educated politicians. By embedding treatments in our survey for whether politicians came from advantaged or disadvantaged upbringings, we also confirm that our results do not entirely reflect generic attitudes toward economically privileged candidates.

Type: Article
Title: How voters assess elite-educated politicians: A survey experiment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.electstud.2018.09.004
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2018.09.004
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Elites, Universities, Education, Candidates, Politicians, Elections, Experiment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10058043
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