Partisanship, Information, and the Conditional Effects of Scandal on Voting Decisions

Amy S. Funck, Katherine T. McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


When do scandals hurt candidates? In this study, we employ a candidate conjoint experiment to understand the conditions under which candidates are most penalized for scandals. Survey respondents evaluate candidates in election scenarios that vary candidate partisanship, the presence and type of negative news about the candidate, and the amount of other information available to voters about the candidates, such as issue positions and demographics. Averaging across respondents and the distribution of candidate attributes, the results show scandal decreases the probability of voting for a candidate, but the size of this negative effect varies by context. The negative effects of scandal on voting decisions are mitigated by the amount of other information available to voters. Our findings also reveal that it is not always the case that voters are blind to the moral failings of scandal-plagued candidates in the presence of other information; voters may continue to rate scandal-plagued candidates negatively in terms of morality but prefer these candidates in terms of partisanship and shared political views.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPolitical Behavior
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Conjoint experiment
  • Information environment
  • Morality
  • Partisanship
  • Scandal
  • Voting


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