In Capable Hands: An Experimental Study of the Effects of Competence and Consistency on Leadership Approval
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2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Current research demonstrates that instances where leaders promises and actions are inconsistent leads to lower public approval and support. While there are exceptions to this trend there is no cohesive framework to address this issue. We introduce a conceptualization where public reactions to a leaders inconsistency is placed in a broader context of public perception of the leaders overall competency. We claim the public evaluation of the leader is dependent on her competency. And while inconsistency of a particular act can negatively affect public evaluations of the leader, the extent of that effect is conditioned by leaders competency. To test this perspective we experimentally manipulate both the competency of the leader as well as her consistency in following up on her promises. Furthermore, we expand the context of inconsistency to include both international and domestic domains. We find both leaders competency and inconsistency matter in public approval. Our findings hold across policy domains and levels of issue salience.