Progressive ambition: What about the people?
Over the last several decades, scholars studying progressive ambition have almost exclusively directed their attention towards determining what factors contribute to politicians running for higher office. However, this extensive body of research only tells half of the story. A unique, yet vitally important aspect in the development of political ambition also affects the final electoral outcome. What previous scholars have overlooked is that, ultimately, voters decide the fate of politicians, not the politicians themselves. Candidates can have all the ambition in the world, take the necessary preliminary actions, make the right decisions and run at exactly the right time but whether they win or lose is contingent entirely upon the minds of voters. Therefore, an important unresolved gap in the literature appears to be how the public perceives progressive ambition. Utilizing a methodological mix of actual voting data and experimental research, my dissertation aims to provide groundbreaking theoretical insight on the research question: what effect does progressive ambition, if any, have on voter preferences?