Hope and Despair: Presidents, Prime Ministers, Populists, Polarization and Mass Democratic Accountability in Challenging Times

Presented by Dr Greg Love, University of Mississippi

The University of Exeter Q-Step Centre seminar
Date10 March 2020
Time14:00 to 15:30
PlaceClayden Computational Lab

The Executive Approval Project (EAP) is a global collaborative data and research project whose goal is to measure public approval of political leaders to help understand why some executives are despised and removed while others remain popular and reelected.

The main data output of the EAP is the Executive Approval Database (EAD 2.0). Using over 40,000 public opinion surveys, EAD 2.0 provides high quality, comparable measures of public support for presidents, prime ministers, and governments in over 60 countries. New work by the EAP, using the EAD 2.0, focuses on the institutional and leader-specific factors shaping when and why elites are held accountable by their publics.


Recently, we returned to the somewhat dormant literature on democratic executive-type and find the divergence in popularity between presidents and PMs theorized by Linz (1991) is starkly evident in the approval profiles of leaders in the two systems. The personalization and direct-linkage of presidents to voters provide them with the high-peaks of honeymoons and the lows of midterm doldrums—both uncommon in parliamentary systems.


Of course, recent elections of populist leaders in Europe and the Americas have highlighted that many of our standard theories of representation and elite-voter linkages are inadequate. Using newly released measures of leader populism, we show publics respond to the appeals and government performance of populist leaders in dramatically exaggerated fashion vis-á-vis their traditional counterparts. However, a key factor that tempers these findings, and dynamics of all leaders, is the emergence of politically polarized publics. Thus, we find the long-standing institutional effects of regime type are being challenged by the rise of populism and polarization.

 

Booking is not required, however please arrive early as seating is limited.


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