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Prime Ministers' Popularity Ratings: The Impact of the Environmental Connection and Governmental Characteristic

Posted on:2019-11-02Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:Michigan State UniversityCandidate:Kraitzman, Alon PFull Text:PDF
GTID:1475390017488968Subject:Political science
This study examines how popularity ratings of political leaders are shaped by characteristics of governments in parliamentary systems. In the dissertation's three chapters, I examine (1) the relationship between economic popularity and changes in different aspects of the government's clarity of responsibility; (2) legislative divisions among members of a coalition government as a measure of cohesiveness and the influence of these divisions on public support for the prime minister; and (3) the mutual dependence between popularity ratings and vote intentions.;The first chapter argues that public perception of prime ministerial economic responsibility is related to properties of government that commonly lead to conflicts among members of the government. I contrast this explanation with an alternative account, which argues that popularity ratings of political leaders are impervious to all types of clarity of responsibility. Using a newly gathered dataset of prime ministers' popularity from six parliamentary democracies during the last two decades, I show that low policy unity within the government, which is likely to lead to internal disagreements, can obscure the level of prime minister's responsibility, since economic conditions can then be perceived by the public to be the result of the government's policy and not just the leader's policy.;After examination of popularity ratings and government clarity of responsibly, the second chapter turns to coalition government's legislative behavior and asks whether coalition government dissent is a political liability for the prime minister. Conventional scholarly wisdom has long held that the popularity of political leaders is determined by their government's economic and social performances. But for coalition governments in multiparty parliamentary democracies the feasibility of prime ministers' policies is dependent on members of the coalition and their willingness to support the prime minister's agenda. Focusing on the consequences of cohesive roll call voting in Israel between 2006 and 2015, I examine how coalition government's parliamentary behavior can influence the prime minister's popularity. Although economic performance, war casualties and political events also matter, I show that as the coalition becomes less cohesive, and members of the coalition do not vote with the government, public support for the prime minister decreases.;Chapter three focuses on the relationships between public support for the prime minister, the entire government and the incumbent party. Previous studies on parliamentary democracies, have explored the effect of economic and security conditions on three types of political units: prime ministers, governments and parties. Yet, to date, the relationships between these three political units in parliamentary systems have not been examined. To examine the relationships between the three political units of accountability this study focuses on Britain as a case-study to offer a general account of VP-functions dynamics that takes into consideration 1) the degree to which executive powers are shared within the government for socio-economic versus security issues, 2) the importance of prime ministerial popularity for the government, and 3) the mutual relationship between popular support for the executive and vote intentions. This study shows that in Britain those who are held accountable for economic and security outcomes -- the prime minister, the government and the incumbent party -- also depend on each other for their public support. Moreover, security conditions has stronger effect on the prime minister than on the government as a whole, since the prime minister is perceived by the public as the "commander in chief". Economic conditions, however, have similar impact on both the prime minister and the government, since the economic decision making process is more equally shared among most government members.
Keywords/Search Tags:Government, Prime minister, Popularity ratings, Economic, Political, Parliamentary, Members, Coalition
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