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Presidents’ Sex and Popularity: Baselines, Dynamics and Policy Performance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 January 2019

Ryan E Carlin
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Georgia State University (Email: rcarlin@gsu.edu)
Miguel Carreras*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of California, Riverside (Email: miguel.carreras@ucr.edu)
Gregory J Love
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of Mississippi (Email: gjlove@olemiss.edu)
*
*Corresponding author: Email: carreras@ucr.edu

Abstract

Public approval is a crucial source of executive power in presidential systems. Does the public support female and male presidents similarly? Combining insights from gender and politics research with psychological evidence, this study theorizes sex-based differentials in popularity based on more general expectations linking gender stereotypes to diverging performance evaluations. Using quarterly analyses of eighteen Latin American democracies, South Korea and the Philippines, the analyses compare the levels, dynamics, and policy performance of macro-approval for male and female presidents. As expected, female presidents are less popular, experience exaggerated approval dynamics and their approval is more responsive to security and corruption (though not economic) outcomes. These findings have clear implications for our understandings of mass politics, political accountability and presidentialism.

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Articles
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© Cambridge University Press 2019

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