Using the tripartite model of attitude structure as a conceptual basis, this article investigates voter attitudes toward presidential candidates, including cognitive and affective assessments of these leaders as well as behavioral intentions and voting behavior. Data collected from the seven most recent U.S. presidential elections were used to compare Democratic and Republican Party candidates who were successful in securing votes to those who were unsuccessful. Here, follower perceptions of leader intelligence, feelings of pride and hope, as well as feelings of fear and anger were found to be statistically different between the two groups. Additionally, regression analysis using follower assessments of candidates' leadership quality, as dependent upon certain perceptual traits of that leader, are presented. Candidates perceived to be higher in intelligence, considered to possess stronger degrees of inspirational quality, and judged more “likeable,” in terms of generating stronger degrees of positive follower affect and lower degrees of negative follower affect, are considered better quality leaders. Followers' perceptions of these traits are found to be key predictors of whether that follower will consider a leader to be of high quality.
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