Priming the Voter: Assessing the Implications of Economic Perceptions on Evaluations of Leaders and Parties

David McGrane, Kirk Clavelle, Loleen Berdahl


This article examines the effects of economic perceptions on party leader evaluations and on the overall feelings of voters towards the various parties contesting the election. We find that positive feelings towards incumbent parties and premiers and negative feelings towards the primary opposition parties and their leaders increase when voters feel that the provincial economy is strong. However, such ‘sociotropic’ economic perceptions do not affect feelings towards third parties and their leaders. In this sense, economic perceptions are important for the battle between the governing party and its primary challenger: they prime voters to like either the incumbent party and Premier, or like the government-in-waiting and the Premier-in-waiting. On the other hand, voters’ evaluations of third parties and their leaders seem to be based on factors other than economic perceptions.

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125