Psychology research has exemplified that leadership is revered largely by society as a masculine characteristic. It is not surprising to find that past studies surrounding the issue of what characteristics the American people look for in a Presidential candidate find that more masculine characteristics, in particular strong leadership qualities, have an impact on how Americans perceive presidential candidates and utilize those perceptions when casting their vote. However, in the ever changing political landscape of the United States, especially given the furthering of women in politics, these masculine tides are seemingly bound to change. Hillary Clinton, for instance, embodies this change as she is the first woman to hold a major party’s nomination for the presidency. Utilizing data from the ANES Time Series Study of 2012, I intend to analyze whether the Presidency, as perceived by the public, has remained a masculine institution or if those traits the American public desires in a President have changed in their masculine-feminine polarity. If past research holds true, my research would show that leadership is the most influential candidate characteristic on voting decision. To put this into terms used in the ANES, the “Feeling Thermometer,” used to measure public perception and favorability of candidates, should exemplify the leadership characteristic as having a positive and significant impact on the candidate feeling thermometer. To view the significance of the leadership characteristic on the feeling thermometer in a more comprehensive manner, I will also be comparing the impact that feminine and gender androgynous characteristics have on candidate feeling thermometers. This research forecasts the direction we will be headed in as an electorate as it will give key insight as to whether society has changed in the values and characteristics we desire in our nation’s highest office or whether the realm of politics remains a man’s world.
Tuleja, Bennett, "Has the American Electorate Changed its Concept of an Ideal President? Candidate Traits and Their Impact on Voter Favorability" (2016). Student Research Day Abstracts and Posters. 210.