H. Helboe Pedersen
- Do Leadership Changes Improve Electoral Performance?
- Book title
- The Politics of Party Leadership: A Cross-National Perspective
- Pages (from-to)
- Oxford: Oxford University Press
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Does changing the leader improve a party’s electoral performance? And does it matter who for electoral performance who selects the leader? We hypothesize that in parties with inclusive selectorates leadership change is beneficial because the competition for the leadership is more open, receives more media attention and provides the means for the new leader to demonstrate her qualities. At the same time, a contest for the leadership position highlights party disunity which may reduce electoral support for the party. Also the effect of leadership change may disappear over time because media attention fades away after the election or because it takes time for the leader to make her mark.
Our results demonstrate that after parties changed their leader they enjoy a short-term bump in support measured by opinion polls, especially in parties with an inclusive selectorate. However, parties that changed leader do not do better at the next election.