(Un)stable Genius? Candidate Depression, Addiction and Voter Attributes
Van De Hey, Lauren, Government - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Winter, Nicholas, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Freedman, Paul, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
This study investigates how voters react to political candidates who have a mental illness versus a candidate who is rude. I present several findings of interest. Using a survey experiment (N = 1,425) with fictional New York Times-style vignettes, I find that voters in the United States are much more likely to favor and vote for candidates with depression than for candidates who have heroin addiction or who are rude. These results are stronger for certain respondent attributes: gender, party ID, and history of mental illness. Democrats are significantly more likely to favor and vote for candidates with depression or heroin addiction than Republicans; women are more likely to favor decreasing social restrictiveness than men; and respondents with a history of mental illness are much more likely to favor and vote for candidates with depression than respondents without a history of mental illness.
MA (Master of Arts)
political behavior, public opinion, mental illness, political candidates, party identification, depression, addiction