Emotional Responses to Top Politicians in a General Election

Open access


Voting behaviour has been studied as a specific form of individual behaviour and has primarily been seen as the result of reflection and deliberation on behalf of the individual. In general consumer behaviour research, the focus is increasingly on the seemingly unconscious and emotionally controlled processes that seem to shape a large part of consumer responses to brands, services and communication. The objective of this paper is to study the influence that emotional reactions have on voter behaviour in connection with a general election. The opportunity arose to carry out a pre- and a post-evaluation of voters’ emotional responses to 6 major party leaders. The results support the notion that constant or increasing positive emotional reaction does in fact accompany election success, whilst election failure is accompanied by decreasing levels of emotional response. The results and their implications for political marketing in the context of an election are discussed.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Adaval R. (2003) How Good Gets Better and Bad Gets Worse: Understanding the Impact of Affect on Evaluations of Known Brands Journal of Consumer Research 30(3) Dec.

  • Bagozzi R.P. Baumgartner H & YI Y. (1992) State versus Action Orientation and the Theory of Reasoned Action: An Application to Coupon Usage Journal of Consumer Research 18(4) Mar.

  • Barone M.J. Miniard P.W. & Romeo J.B. (2000) The Influence of Positive Mood on Brand Extension Evaluations Journal of Consumer Research 26(4) Mar.

  • Bechara A and A. Damasio (2005) The Somatic Marker Hypothesis: A Neutral Theory of Economic Decision Making Games and Economic Behavior 52(2) August.

  • Caprara G.V. Claudio Barbaranelli and Philip G. Zimbardo (2002) When Parsimony Subdues Distinctiveness: Simplified Public Perceptions of Politicians Personality; Political Psychology 23(1)

  • Charlton-Jones J. (2005) Capturing Emotions in Advertising and Benefiting from the Knowledge Proceedings from the 2005 European Advertising Effectiveness Symposium Budapest June.

  • Christensen Sverre Riis (2006) Measuring Consumer Reactions to Sponsoring Partnerships Based upon Emotional and Attitudinal Responses; International Journal of Market Research 48(1).

  • Conover P.J. and S. Feldmann (1986) The Role of Inference in the Perception of Political Candidates; in Political cognition 19th annual Carnegie Symposium on Cognition.

  • Damasio A. (1994) Descartes Error: Emotion Reason and the Human Brain Grosset/Putnam New York.

  • Damasio A. (2000) The Feelings of what Happens. London: Vintage.

  • Damasio A. (2003) Looking for Spinoza: Joy Sorrow and the Feeling Brain. Harcourt.

  • Deppe M. Schwindt W. Kugel H. Plassman H & Kenning P. (2005) Nonlinear Responses Within the Medial Prefrontal Cortex Reveal When Specific Implicit Information Influences Economic Decision Making Journal of Neuroimaging 15 pp. 171-182.

  • Desmet P.M.A. (2003) Measuring Emotions in: Blythe M.A. Monk A.F. Overbeeke K. & Wright P.C. (Eds.): Funology: From Usability to Enjoyment. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers pp. 111-123.

  • Downs A. (1957) An Economic Theory of Democracy. Harper & Row.

  • Duhachek A. (2005) Coping: A Multidimensional Hierarchical Framework of Responses to Stressful Consumption Episodes Journal of Consumer Research 32(1) June.

  • DuPlessis E. (2005) The Advertised Mind. Kogan Page.

  • Ekman P. (1980) Biological and Cultural Contributions to Body and Facial Movement in the Expression of Emotions in: RORTY A.O.(Ed) Explaining Emotions. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Erevelles S. (1998) The Role of Affect in Marketing Journal of Business Research 42 pp. 199-215.

  • Franzen G. and M. Bouwman (2001) The Mental World of Brands. Reading: ACR.

  • Frijda N.H. (1986) The Emotions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Funk C.L. (1999) Bringing the Candidate into Models of Candidate Evaluation Journal of Politics 61.

  • Goode Alistair (2002) The Value of Implicit Memory. Admap December.

  • Hansen Flemming (2005) Distinguishing between Feelings and Emotions in Understanding Communication Effects; Journal of Business Research 58.

  • Hansen Flemming and Sverre Riis Christensen (2006) Emotions in Consumer Choice and Advertising Theory and Findings Supporting it; Putnam and Sons 2006 (to appear).

  • Hansen Flemming Anne Martensen and Sverre Riis Christensen (2006) Modelling Emotional and Attitudinal Responses as Drivers of Sponsorship Value; International Journal of Sponsorship and Sports Marketing 7(1).

  • Holbrook M.B. & Batra R. (1987) Assessing the Role of Emotions as Mediators of Consumer Responses to Advertising The Journal of Consumer Research 14(3) Dec. pp. 404-420.

  • Izard C.E. (1977) Human Emotions. New York Plenum Press.

  • Janiszewski C. & Meyvis (2001) Effects of Brand Logo Complexity Repetition and Spacing on Processing Fluency and Judgment 28.

  • Kenning P. & Plassmann H. (2005) NeuroEconomics: An Overview from an Economic Perspective Brain Research Bulletin 67 pp. 343-354.

  • Kinder D.R. (1986) Presidential Character Revisited; in Political Cognition 19th annual Carnegie Symposium on Cognition.

  • Lau R.R. (1986) Political Schemata Candidate Evaluations and Voting Behavior; in Political cognition 19th annual Carnegie Symposium on Cognition.

  • LeDoux J. (1998) The Emotional Brain. New York: Phoenix.

  • LeDoux J. (2002) Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are. New York: Viking.

  • Lee A.Y. & Sternthal B. (1999) The Effects of Positive Mood on Memory Journal of Consumer Research 26(2) Sep.

  • Lodge M. and P. Stroh (1993) Inside the Mental Voting Booth: An Impression-Driven Process Model of Candidate Evaluation; in Explorations in Political Psychology.

  • Luce M.F. (1998) Choosing to Avoid: Coping with Negatively Emotion-Laden Consumer Decisions Journal of Consumer Research 24(4) March.

  • Lundsteen S. & Hansen F. (2006) Tracking Shifts in Emotional Responses to Brands a Comparison of Two Studies; Proceedings from The 5th International Conference On Research In Advertising (ICORIA) Bath.

  • Marcus George E. (2003) The Psychology of Emotion and Politics; in Leoni Huddy David Sears and Robert Jervis: Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Marcus George E. & Mackuen Michael B. (1993) Anxiety Enthusiasm and the Vote: The Emotional Underpinnings of Learning and Involvement During Presidential Campaigns The American Political Science Review 87(3) September pp. 672-685.

  • Martensen Anne Flemming Hansen and Sverre Riis Christensen (2005) Modelling Emotional and Attitudinal Responses as Drivers of Sponsorship Value; proceedings of EMAC.

  • McClure S. M. J. Li D. Tomilin K:S. Cypert L.M. Montague and P.R. Montague (2004) Neural Correlates of Behavioral Preference for Culturally Familiar Drinks Neuron 44 October.

  • McDermott R. (2004) The Feeling of Rationality: The Meaning of Neuroscientific Advances for Political Science Perspectives on Politics 2(4) December.

  • Murry J.P. Lastovicka J.L. & Singh S.N. (1992) Feeling and Liking Responses to Television Programs: An Examination of Two Explanations for Media-Context Effects Journal of Consumer Research 18(4) Mar.

  • Ortony A. & Turner T.J. (1990) What’s Basic about Basic Emotions? Psychological Review 97 pp. 313.

  • Page Graham (2005) The challenges for neuroscience in ad research; Admap September.

  • Percy Larry Flemming Hansen and Rolf Randrup (2004) How to measure brand emotion; Admap November 2004

  • Pham M. T Cohen J.B. Pracejus J.W. & Hughes G.D. (2001) Affect Monitoring and the Primacy of Feelings in Judgment Journal of Consumer Research 28 pp. 167-188 September.

  • Plassmann Hilke Peter Kenning Michel Deppe Harald Kugel Wolfram Schwindt and Dieter Ahlert (2005) The Fire of Desire: Neural Correlates of Brand Choice; proceedings of EACR.

  • Plutchik R. (1980) Emotion: A Psychoevolutionary Synthesis. New York: Harper & Row.

  • Plutchik R. & Kellerman H. (1974) Emotions Profile Index Manual Western Psychological Services. Los Angeles.

  • Richins M.L. (1997) Measuring Emotions in the Consumption Experience Journal of Consumer Research 24 Sep. pp. 127-142.

  • Shiv B. & Fedorikhin A. (1999) Heart and Mind in Conflict: The Interplay of Affect and Cognition in Consumer Decision Making Journal of Consumer Research 26(3) Dec.

  • Wolak Jennifer MacKuen Michael & Keele Luke (2003) How the Emotions of Public Policy Affect Citizen Engagement and Public Deliberation Presentation at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association Chicago IL April 3-6.

  • Zajonc R.B. (1968) Attitudinal Effects of Mere Exposure Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 9(2) June

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.223
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.270

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 231 154 7
PDF Downloads 57 35 1