Political hypocrisy: The effect of political scandals on candidate evaluations

Yosef Bhatti, Kasper M. Hansen, Asmus Leth Olsen


Although political scandals receive unprecedented attention in the contemporary media, the knowledge of political scientists regarding the consequences of such scandals remains limited. On the basis of two nationally representative survey experiments, we investigate whether the impact of scandals depends on the traits of the politicians involved. We find substantial evidence that politicians are particularly punished for political-ideological hypocrisy, while there is less evidence that gender stereotypes matter. We also show that voters evaluate scandals in the personal lives of politicians in a highly partisan manner – other-party voters punish a politician substantially harsher than same-party voters. Interestingly, voters show no gender bias in their candidate evaluations.