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Hearts, Minds, and Tulips: The Contribution of Active Intelligence in Understanding Dutch Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  Capelos: Emotionality, Vote, and Party Identification - 4 - In 2002, an election year that was disrupted by the murder of Pim Fortuyn, it became apparent that neither social class, religion, ideology, nor party attachments, could any longer successfully explain Dutch voting behaviour. Instead, a large amount of people voted for Pim Fortuyn because of his personal appeal towards voters who were cynical towards politics in general, or who were dissatisfied with the incumbent government (Holsteyn & Irwin 2003). The rise of Pim Fortuyn during the election campaign in 2002 prompted political scientists to readjust their views, and reflect on the importance of candidate evaluations. Using data from the Dutch National Election Study (DNES) spanning from 1986 through 1998, van Wijnen (2000) determined that overall evaluations of party leaders and citizens’ faith to their performance as prime ministers have had an increased impact on vote since 1986, with notable variations across parties. Aarts (2001) analysed the same data to show that candidate evaluations are influenced by party perceptions, and once party evaluations are considered, there is no increase in candidate-centered voting. In this unresolved debate, proponents of the two sides, partisan attachments vs. candidate characteristics, hold their positions. Despite their disagreement on the relative role of parties and candidates in the Dutch political arena, political scientists agree that models of voting behaviour that were successful in the recent past have lost their explanatory power (Andeweg & Irwin, 2005). In one of the first attempts to shed light on the role of emotionality in Dutch politics, Capelos (2007) shows that Dutch voters hold emotional reactions to political candidates, which follow not only the individual political profiles of each leader, but also systematically reflect their incumbent and challenger status. Here, I borrow insights from the theory of affective intelligence to identify the mechanism on the basis of which Dutch voters decide on their vote preferences. The theory of affective intelligence provides an explanatory framework of habitual versus attentive political behavior, by arguing that citizens adapt to the demands of the political environment on the basis of two affective systems, labeled ‘dispositional’ and ‘surveillance’ (Marcus et al. 2000). While the dispositional system monitors routine behaviors, the surveillance system moderates the use of habits when novel or threatening stimuli are in sight. The theory predicts increased use of party identification when

Authors: Capelos, Tereza.
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Capelos: Emotionality, Vote, and Party Identification
- 4 -
In 2002, an election year that was disrupted by the murder of Pim Fortuyn, it
became apparent that neither social class, religion, ideology, nor party attachments, could
any longer successfully explain Dutch voting behaviour. Instead, a large amount of
people voted for Pim Fortuyn because of his personal appeal towards voters who were
cynical towards politics in general, or who were dissatisfied with the incumbent
government (Holsteyn & Irwin 2003). The rise of Pim Fortuyn during the election
campaign in 2002 prompted political scientists to readjust their views, and reflect on the
importance of candidate evaluations. Using data from the Dutch National Election Study
(DNES) spanning from 1986 through 1998, van Wijnen (2000) determined that overall
evaluations of party leaders and citizens’ faith to their performance as prime ministers
have had an increased impact on vote since 1986, with notable variations across parties.
Aarts (2001) analysed the same data to show that candidate evaluations are influenced by
party perceptions, and once party evaluations are considered, there is no increase in
candidate-centered voting.
In this unresolved debate, proponents of the two sides, partisan attachments vs.
candidate characteristics, hold their positions. Despite their disagreement on the relative
role of parties and candidates in the Dutch political arena, political scientists agree that
models of voting behaviour that were successful in the recent past have lost their
explanatory power (Andeweg & Irwin, 2005). In one of the first attempts to shed light on
the role of emotionality in Dutch politics, Capelos (2007) shows that Dutch voters hold
emotional reactions to political candidates, which follow not only the individual political
profiles of each leader, but also systematically reflect their incumbent and challenger
status.
Here, I borrow insights from the theory of affective intelligence to identify the
mechanism on the basis of which Dutch voters decide on their vote preferences. The
theory of affective intelligence provides an explanatory framework of habitual versus
attentive political behavior, by arguing that citizens adapt to the demands of the political
environment on the basis of two affective systems, labeled ‘dispositional’ and
‘surveillance’ (Marcus et al. 2000). While the dispositional system monitors routine
behaviors, the surveillance system moderates the use of habits when novel or threatening
stimuli are in sight. The theory predicts increased use of party identification when


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