What is the role of perceived leadership capacity in presidential politics?

Young voters' perceptions of candidates' leadership practices and the 2008 U.S. presidential race



The relevance of leadership models in presidential leadership, and principally the role of perceived leadership in presidential election years, is an area of study with limited development but increasing importance. This study explores the relationship between young voters' leadership assessment of presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, and their reports of voting behavior during the 2008 presidential election. Leadership perceptions were collected from 812 respondents prior to the election. Results indicate that candidate leadership assessments have a significant effect on candidate preference after controlling for the impact of party identification and self-perceived political efficacy. Further, political efficacy significantly impacted respondents' intent to vote in the election after controlling for these same variables. Party affiliation produced significant differences across the political ideology, leadership ratings, political efficacy, and likelihood of voting variables. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications as they pertain to political leadership.