Evaluation of Party Leaders and Voting Behaviour: An Analysis of the 2000 General Election

Author(s): Ikuo Kabashima and Ryōsuke Imai

This paper examines the impact that the Japanese electorate's negative evaluation of Prime Minister Mori Yoshiro had on its voting behaviour in the 2000 General Election.This study uses an eight-wave panel survey covering the period from 1993 to 2000.The last survey which was used most, was conducted through the mail immediately after the 2000 General Election. It was found that party leader evaluation did in fact affect voting behaviour, with voting in proportional representation districts affected more significantly than voting in single-member districts. We also examined how party leader evaluation affected split voting between proportional and single-member districts, and found that negative party leader evaluation was a major cause of split voting. Finally, it was found that the evaluation of Prime Minister Mori himself was affected most significantly by a series of problematic speeches Mori made in the run-up to the election.
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