Photographer: Guida Morais

Ms L. (Loes) Aaldering MSc

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group: Challenges to Democratic Representation
  • Visiting address
    REC BC
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166  Amsterdam
    Room number: B10.01
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15578
    1001 NB  Amsterdam

PhD project: The electoral effects of media coverage on political leaders.

This project studies how party leaders in the Netherlands are covered in the media and the effects thereof on voters. The research focusses on how party leaders are presented in the media in terms of their character traits or leadership skills, including media coverage on their political craftsmanship, vigorousness, integrity, communicative skills and consistency. The media coverage is studied first: how are party leaders described in Dutch media and are there differences in the coverage of male and female party leaders. This is studied by a computer assisted content analysis of newspaper articles in the period 2006-2012 and a manual content analysis of political television programs in the 2012 election campaign.  Subsequently, the electoral effects of these media messages are studied, by linking media reports to existing data from the EenVandaag Opinion Panel (almost 100.000 respondents in 103 waves). Lastly, the mechanisms explaining these media effects are studied, using another panel study collected during the 2012 campaign (5 waves).



After finishing a Bachelor in Laws, Loes graduated in 2011 in Political Theory and Political Behavior at the University of Amsterdam. Her master thesis studied whether the preferences of the lower educated are underrepresented in Dutch politics, responding to the public debate concerning the Diploma Democracy (Bovens and Wille, 2011). She graduated in 2013 (cum laude) in the Research Master Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, where she specialized in comparative politics and quantitative research methods. This master thesis studied under which conditions and to what extent the ideological colour of the government influences policy outcomes. Within her research internship, she also conducted research on the effects of opinion polls on voting behavior.


Loes received a research grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), which allowed her to start working at the University of Amsterdam as PhD candidate since September 2013. The team of supervisors for this project are Wouter van der Brug, Tom van der Meer (both UvA Political Science) and Rens Vliegenthart (UvA Communication Science). Her research interest include electoral behavior, political communication, gender and politics, political leadership and political representation.




  • Aaldering, L. (2017). Political representation and educational attainment: Evidence from the Netherlands (1994-2010). Political Studies, 65(1_suppl), 4-23. DOI: 10.1177/0032321715622788 [details]


  • Aaldering, L., & Vliegenthart, R. (2016). Political leaders and the media: can we measure political leadership images in newspapers using computer-assisted content analysis? Quality and Quantity, 50(5), 1871-1905. DOI: 10.1007/s11135-015-0242-9 [details] [PDF]
  • van der Meer, T. W. G., Hakhverdian, A., & Aaldering, L. (2016). Off the fence, onto the bandwagon? A large-scale survey experiment on effect of real-life poll outcomes on subsequent vote intentions. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 28(1), 46-72. DOI: 10.1093/ijpor/edu041 [details]


  • Aaldering, L., & van der Meer, T. (2014). Veranderlijk maar standvastig: partijvoorkeuren en de rol van de media. In P. van Praag, & K. Brants (Eds.), Media, macht en politiek: de verkiezingscampagne van 2012. (pp. 207-225). Diemen: AMB. [details]
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