Politicians and Scandals that Damage the Party Brand
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionLegislative Studies Quarterly. 2022, . 10.1111/lsq.12377
Scandals can cause serious damage to political parties’ brand name and reputation, which may taint all members of the party—even those not implicated in the scandal. In this article, we therefore explore how (uninvolved) politicians are likely to react to the eruption of such events. Building on a survey among UK local councilors (N = 2133), we first document the prevalence of distinct response strategies (such as distancing oneself from the scandal-hit party or redirecting attention to similar events in other parties). Then, building on a between-subject survey-experimental design, we assess the moderating roles of partisanship and scandal type. We show that a scandal in one’s own party reduces the probability of distancing oneself from the scandal-hit party (particularly among men). We also find that scandal type matters: pointing out similar scandals in other parties is less likely for sex scandals compared to financial scandals (particularly among women).