Self-financed candidates and how voters perceive them
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The increasing number of candidates relying on their personal wealth and corporate experience in their bids for elected office raises the question: how do voters perceive these non-traditional candidates and their willingness to spend their personal money in order to win elected office? Using both an experimental design and data from the 2009-2010 election cycles, I test for the effects of self-financing one’s political campaign on voter support for the candidates and their vote share in the general election, respectively. I find that partisans’ evaluations of candidates decrease when alerted to their self-financing. Independents evaluate self-financing candidates more positively than traditional candidates. In addition, self-financing one’s campaign had a negative effect on candidates in the 2010 general elections for the U.S. House of Representatives independent of their spending levels.