Scandals leading to Cabinet ministers’ resignation always involve a myriad of different causes and circumstances. The Fox-Werritty case adds some new and bizarre elements to this lexicon of mostly self-inflicted follies. Yet behind the apparent diversity lie some repeating patterns that show up clearly in the sophisticated statistical analyses of modern political science, as Torun Dewan explains. PMs often delay pushing out a minister while it is unclear that the controversy has begun damaging government popularity in the opinion polls and its longer run reputation. Once polling damage becomes evident, however – as it tends to do if a media ‘wolf hunt’ is sustained into a second week – then ministers are culled, or are allowed to resign ‘of their own accord’. Normally also this process works –and government popularity returns to the status quo ante. Premiers also delay because the ‘talent pool’ available to staff the Cabinet can become depleted
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