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Keywords:

  • candidate evaluations;
  • candidate traits;
  • survey experiments

There has been extensive research into the extent to which voters utilise short cuts based on gender and race stereotypes when evaluating candidates, but relatively little is known about how they respond to other background characteristics. We compare the impact of candidates' sex, religion, age, education, occupation and location/residence through a survey experiment in which respondents rate two candidates based on short biographies. We find small differences in the ratings of candidates in response to sex, religion, age and education cues but more sizeable effects are apparent for the candidate's occupation and place of residence. Even once we introduce a control for political party into our experimental scenarios the effect of candidate's place of residence continues to have a sizeable impact on candidate evaluations. Our research suggests that students of electoral behaviour should pay attention to a wider range of candidate cues.