Answer to Question #179261 in History for will

Question #179261

describe effects of political scandal on public trust.

Expert's answer

Scandals have been on the rise in the recent decades with prominent figures like Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton having incidents of political scandals. According to researchers, different scandals may generate different effects on its recipients. Thereby, there are two approaches of looking at the effect of political scandals on public trust namely the dysfunctional and functional theory. The dysfunctional theory presupposes that political scandals have a negative effect on politicians, political parties, and democracy. The theory also argues that political scandals contribute to the decline of political support. However, it also argues that the support for political parties and politicians is negativity impacted after exposure to scandal coverage where as the satisfaction with democracy and trust in political institutions is not affected (Maier, 2011). The functional theory suggests that political scandals can have positive effects. Researchers suggest that people have grown accustomed to scandals that it no longer affects their attitudes (Kumlin & Esaiasson, 2012). Kumlin et al. suggests that political scandals can strengthen democratic satisfaction. This is because it shows that media watchdogs and responsible politicians are on the lookout thus conclude that the system as a whole is functioning well. Therefore, political scandals can either have a negative or positive effect on public trust depending on the recipients attitudes.


Kumlin, S., & Esaiasson, P. (2012). Scandal fatigue? Scandal elections and satisfaction with democracy in Western Europe, 1977–2007. British Journal of Political Science, 42(2), 263–282.


Maier, J. (2011). The impact of political scandals on political support: An experimental test of two theories. International political science review32(3), 283-302.

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