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The good politician and political trust: An authenticity gap in British politics?

The good politician and political trust: An authenticity gap in British politics?
The good politician and political trust: An authenticity gap in British politics?
There are three broad sets of qualities that citizens might expect politicians to display: competence, integrity and authenticity. To be authentic, a politician must be judged to be in touch with the lives and outlooks of ordinary people and previous research has suggested that this expectation has grown more prevalent in recent times. In this paper, we use survey evidence from Britain – from citizens, parliamentarians and journalists – to explore which groups are prone to judge politicians by which criteria. While all groups give the highest absolute importance to integrity traits, we establish that distrusting citizens are significantly more likely to prioritize authenticity. For political elites and journalists, we find indications that authenticity is less valued than among citizens: politicians place more relative importance on integrity traits while journalists value competence most. We reflect on these findings and how they help us understand the growing crisis afflicting British politics.
authenticity, political leadership, political trust, anti-politics
0032-3217
Valgardsson, Viktor, Orri
1547ffb4-6d6c-416d-8cd7-62d63b1c778a
Clarke, Nicholas
4ed65752-5210-4f9e-aeff-9188520510e8
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Stoker, Gerard
209ba619-6a65-4bc1-9235-cba0d826bfd9
Valgardsson, Viktor, Orri
1547ffb4-6d6c-416d-8cd7-62d63b1c778a
Clarke, Nicholas
4ed65752-5210-4f9e-aeff-9188520510e8
Jennings, William
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Stoker, Gerard
209ba619-6a65-4bc1-9235-cba0d826bfd9

Valgardsson, Viktor, Orri, Clarke, Nicholas, Jennings, William and Stoker, Gerard (2020) The good politician and political trust: An authenticity gap in British politics? Political Studies. (In Press)

Record type: Article

Abstract

There are three broad sets of qualities that citizens might expect politicians to display: competence, integrity and authenticity. To be authentic, a politician must be judged to be in touch with the lives and outlooks of ordinary people and previous research has suggested that this expectation has grown more prevalent in recent times. In this paper, we use survey evidence from Britain – from citizens, parliamentarians and journalists – to explore which groups are prone to judge politicians by which criteria. While all groups give the highest absolute importance to integrity traits, we establish that distrusting citizens are significantly more likely to prioritize authenticity. For political elites and journalists, we find indications that authenticity is less valued than among citizens: politicians place more relative importance on integrity traits while journalists value competence most. We reflect on these findings and how they help us understand the growing crisis afflicting British politics.

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Accepted/In Press date: 22 April 2020
Keywords: authenticity, political leadership, political trust, anti-politics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 440640
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/440640
ISSN: 0032-3217
PURE UUID: 4cad8a74-f85a-4a14-8f78-85396addc8d2
ORCID for Nicholas Clarke: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9148-9849
ORCID for William Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 May 2020 16:47
Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 01:40

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