The Association between Leadership Traits of Political Party Leaders and Party Issue Positions: The Case of Turkey 2002-2015
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The literature of political parties has traditionally given more attention to party image, party identification, and the impact of the party’s ideology on voter choice, rather than the effect of the leadership on party positions. This research fills that gap in the literature by showing the intra-party impact of party leaders, and by exploring the direct association between leaders’ traits and party issue positions. In addition, most research was conducted using an At-a-distance Leadership Trait Analysis, and most studies investigate how the leader’s personality impacts foreign policy, and the international domain. There is a lack of research on domestic politics, and more precisely on sub-state level politics within political party organizations. This study investigates the association between party leadership traits and party positions on issues. The research posits three questions: Is there any association between a party leader’s personality traits and party positions on issues? If so, what is the strength and direction of this association? In addition, do some traits specifically correlate with specific positions? The study uses Leadership Traits Analysis to measure leadership style, and MARPOR (Manifesto Research on Political Representation) datasets of Manifesto Analysis to measure party issue positions. The research tests these associations in the case of Turkey post-2002 era. It focuses on four political parties which were represented in the Turkish parliament from 2002 to 2015. In this period, Turkey underwent five parliamentary elections, and the parties under investigation here had six leaders. The study illustrates a strong association between leadership traits and party positions on issues.