Political Fiascoes and the Evaluation of Politicians: Quasi-experimental evidence

With Enrique Hernández

In this project we analyze how the evaluations of individual politicians are affected by their policy failures and successes, and how these alter the foundations and heuristics on which individuals rely to evaluate these politicians. This paper draws on extensive data on the evaluation of Spanish Ministers from the Spanish Center for Sociological Research (CIS). Through the implementation of a synthetic control method and a series of “Unexpected Event During Surveys Designs” this study provides valuable insights about the attitudinal effects of politicians’ actions, as well as about the foundations of their evaluations. Preliminary evidence from the first case-study of this project indicates that: (i) policy failures have a strong impact on the evaluation and name recognition of the politicians directly involved in the decision-making process; (ii) citizens are able to single out responsibilities for specific policy failures; (iii) policy failures alter the foundations of citizens’ evaluations, who are less likely to rely on heuristics to evaluate the politicians who are directly responsible for the failure.

Here you will find the slides for the first case-study of this project.