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How do Latin America’s poorest citizens participate in politics? This article explores the role that community organizations play in mobilizing individuals into three common modes of political participation: voting, protesting, and contacting government. It argues that community organizations help mobilize poor individuals both through the resources they provide for mobilization and because they serve as sites where political parties target individuals for mobilization. It analyzes survey data from LAPOP surveys for 18 Latin American countries and finds that overall, poor people are just as politically active as more affluent individuals; that involvement in community organizations is a very strong predictor of all types of political participation; and that membership in organizations has an especially strong effect on voting and protesting for poor people. By equalizing levels of political participation across income groups, organizations help erase class-based inequalities in participation that have plagued democracies in the region.
Mainstream parties in Western Europe are increasingly struggling to hold together their base of support. As a lens for exploring this changing electoral landscape, this article focuses on the growing share of the electorate that is cross-pressured between conservative and progressive attitudes on economic and cultural issues. It argues that a stable asymmetry characterizes Western European mass attitudes: while support for the left is common among voters with progressive attitudes on both issues, it is enough to be conservative on one issue to turn right. Analyzing survey data collected from 1990 to 2017, the study shows that cross-pressures are resolved in favor of the right and examines the trade-offs this poses to center-right parties. These findings contribute to debates on electoral dealignment and realignment and shed light on the electoral choices of the center-right.
If there is no evidence of a religious resurgence in Turkey, what can explain the rise and sustained success of Islamic-based parties there? To understand the popularity of Islamic parties, like the AKP, a broader view of the Turkish electoral system as warranted: alongside the rise of the AKP came a sharp decline in electoral volatility -- vote swings between parties from election to election -- and in the share of votes that were wasted, cast for parties that failed to secure a seat in a given district. I argue that these two trends are not coincidental but are both based on matters of trust: low levels of interpersonal trust makes it difficult for voters within districts to vote strategically and successfully coordinate their individual votes into meaningful outcomes; but this trust problem is effectively solved within religious voters, to the comparative advantage of Islamic parties. Moreover, the ability of religious voters to coordinate their support for Islamic parties, and to do so consistently, helps to make these parties an attractive target for strategic votes from distrusting, conservative voters, even if they are secular. Analysis of panel data from the Turkish case provides empirical support for both hypotheses.
Chapter 6 analyzes the impact of casualties on elections during the war. Statewide elections were staggered throughout the calendar in ways that make those election returns function like a tracking poll of partisan support. Contrary to modern war studies, I find Republican vote shares did not deteriorate in response to national casualties. I validate my analytical approach with evidence of highly nationalized and synchronized elections linking party votes for House, governor, and president both before and during the war. However, local deaths moved voters on the margins, with disparate impacts based on the balance of local partisanship. Local deaths depressed Republican vote share in prewar Democratic bastions but not in Republican strongholds. Recent deaths were especially potent. It suggests that the combination of partisan identities, local partisan leaders, and local social environments shaped local interpretations of the war – including its unprecedented human costs. Local casualties did change the electoral behavior of some voters, while most stood pat. Partisan mechanisms guided who responded and how.
Chapter 5’s newspaper analysis shows how partisan editors and correspondents reinforced and polarized partisan voters in how they framed the war’s progress, its racial implications, and electoral implications of the dead. For example, Democratic and Republican papers were equally likely to mention Union casualties, but anti-war Democratic papers framed deaths as senseless losses in a hopeless, misguided cause, while Republican papers framed them as heroic martyrs whose deaths required a redoubled devotion to victory. Democrats explicitly tied the dead to vote choice far more than Republicans did.
Chapter 7 investigates electoral stability in response to specific wartime events with a brief historical narrative of wartime events along the way. Most Civil War accounts describe a highly volatile public mood, threatening Republican electoral fortunes. Instead, I find vote shares were almost entirely stable despite epic events like the 1864 Atlanta victory. The only national dip in Republican support came in fall 1862, and periodic midterm losses for the president’s party may explain it best. Overall, the chapter shows shockingly stable national partisan voting in these wartime elections, even with the conditional shifts based on local deaths. Even as party policy positions and epic events changed rapidly across the war, voters mostly stuck with their own party.
Elections represent group contestations over political power. The rise of Latino candidates for public office and campaigns that emphasize anti-Latino immigration appeals have created an environment where animus toward Latinos is a dominant consideration in the minds of many White Americans. This chapter shows the pervasiveness of White animus toward Latinos across a range of federal and state elections, including its role in the election of Donald J. Trump as president in 2016. It then shows that candidates are often motivated to take a “hard-line” stance on issues like immigration when their constituents harbor resentment toward Latinos.
A growing body of research explores the factors that affect when corrupt politicians are held accountable by voters. Most studies, however, focus on one or few factors in isolation, leaving incomplete our understanding of whether they condition each other. To address this, we embedded rich conjoint candidate choice experiments into surveys in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. We test the importance of two contextual factors thought to mitigate voters’ punishment of corrupt politicians: how widespread corruption is and whether it brings side benefits. Like other scholars, we find that corruption decreases candidate support substantially. But, we also find that information that corruption is widespread does not lessen the sanction applied against corruption, whereas information about the side benefits from corruption does, and does so to a similar degree as the mitigating role of permissible attitudes toward bribery. Moreover, those who stand to gain from these side benefits are less likely to sanction corruption.
Social norms play an important role in our understanding of why people vote, yet very little is known about the relative importance of descriptive and injunctive norms for voter turnout or how normative influence is affected by the political and social relationship between citizens. Using political discussion network data from the British Election Study, this article examines the joint effect of descriptive and injunctive norms on turnout. It demonstrates that citizens follow the example of those closest to them (descriptive norms), especially their partner, but they also respond to social approval of voting from political discussants regardless of the nature of their relationship.
In democracies, majority-rule voting is an esteemed rule for collective decisions, but its hazards have recently become apparent after a series of controversial referendums and ascendant populist leaders. Here, we investigate people’s judgments about when voting is appropriate for collective decisions across five countries with diverse cultures and political institutions (Denmark, Hungary, India, Russia, and USA). Participants read scenarios in which individuals with conflicting preferences need to make a collective decision. They judged whether the group should decide by voting, consensus, leadership, or chance. We experimentally manipulated whether the group contains a vulnerable minority – a smaller number of people with more at stake than the majority. In all five countries, participants generally preferred voting without a vulnerable minority, with relatively greater support for voting in more democratic countries. But, when the group included a vulnerable minority, participants in all countries reduced their support for voting and instead preferred consensus.
Chapter 4 evaluates whether Muslim American resentment matters for the election of Muslim American officials, and the enhancing of Muslim American descriptive representation. The chapter presents results from two candidate evaluation survey experiments in which the party, race, and religion of fictional candidates were varied in a hypothetical primary election for congressional office. The results demonstrate that it is religion – and not race – that leads to discrimination against Muslim candidates. In other words, there is significantly less probability of Muslims, regardless of race, being viewed as likely to win.
Throughout its history, Europe has gone through various phases of economic downturn. A major one, known as the Great Recession, started out in 2008, first as a financial crisis and then as one of the deepest – if not the deepest – economic crises European countries have had to face so far. Europeans are still struggling with its negative effects. As citizens try to cope with such negative effects in their everyday lives, economic crises also have political effects. At the most basic level, two possible reactions may be mentioned. On the one hand, economic hardship may lead to a decline in political participation and civic engagement as the experience of economic difficulty can certainly be understood as draining resources from political participation.
Previous research finds that privileged citizens have more influence on democratic decisions than less advantaged citizens. One explanation put forward is unequal voting participation between socioeconomic groups. This paper contributes by studying how such inequalities are reproduced in couple formation. It sets out to answer two questions using British panel data. First, to what extent does assortative mating vs social influence account for correspondence in turnout behavior of couples? Second, does assortative mating and social influence contribute to social inequalities in turnout? The results show that the relationship between living with a partner and turnout is highly dependent on the voting participation of the partner, and that, regardless of individuals’ own previous voting participation, individuals with higher socioeconomic status are more likely to enter relationships with potential voters. The unequal selection into relationships with voters and nonvoters shows that unequal voting participation between socioeconomic groups can be self-reinforcing through assortative mating.
This chapter introduces the challenge of political control that faces the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in rural China. Local CCP officials face a governance dilemma. They must control protest and implement unpopular policies such as land expropriation and relocation, or family planning quotas. Yet, as an original experiment shows, CCP cadres are seen as less trustworthy than the leaders of local community groups like lineages or neighborhood associations. The remainder of the book illustrates the resourceful ways that party cadres use these social ties to their advantage.
The technical aspects of printing and distribution remained largely unchanged in the 1790s, but censorship controls and copyright became more complex and unpredictable. The failure of political leadership in France naturally encouraged extensive discussion throughout the rest of Europe, with a wide-ranging exploration in print of an array of political themes: the nature of civil government, national identity, democracy, popular political participation, voting, formal constitutions, law reform, and other contentious issues. Women saw unprecedented opportunities in Paris, but their efforts to gain political influence were largely thwarted. Strong popular political participation exposed deep ambiguities which were reflected in print. A comparison of political debate in London and Paris with other parts of Europe suggests that authors, publishers and readers all suffered restrictions, but such factors were both asynchronous across different cities and closely contingent on local political circumstances. Disagreements over the need for repressive control of print were not resolved in the 1790s.
We examine which Americans were likely to believe that American society has grown “too soft and feminine,” a concept we have characterized as gendered nationalism, and how such gendered nationalist attitudes influenced voting behavior in the 2016 presidential race. Our analysis shows that party, gender, education, and class shaped attitudes about gendered nationalism: Republicans, men, and members of the working class were more likely to support gendered nationalist views. We identify a strong, significant relationship between gendered nationalist attitudes and the probability of voting for Donald Trump, even after controlling for partisanship, ideology, race, religion, and other factors. Moreover, gender differences in candidate support were largely driven by gender differences in beliefs that the United States has grown too soft and feminine. Our research adds to the growing scholarly evidence indicating that gendered beliefs are likely to have a bigger impact on American political behavior than a voter's gender alone.
In recent years centrist-liberal parties, such as the German Free Democratic Party (FDP) in 2013 and the British Liberal Democrats in 2015 and 2017, suffered enormous electoral defeats. These defeats highlight a prominent puzzle in the study of party competition and voting behavior; the empty center phenomenon. That is, empirical evidence suggests that most parties do not converge to the median voter's position, despite the centripetal force of the voters’ preference distribution. Using survey data from Canada, Finland, Germany and the United Kingdom, this article shows that deterioration of centrist parties’ valence image is followed by a collapse of their vote shares. Using mathematical simulations, this article shows that centrist parties have limited strategic opportunities to regain their support. Differently from other parties, centrist parties cannot alter their policy platforms to compensate for their deteriorated valence image. These results have important implications for political representation and voters–elite linkages.
Despite the longstanding underrepresentation of blacks in Congress, political science research has not settled on the cause. While there is increasing evidence that racial attitudes affect vote choice in today's congressional elections, how this effect interacts with the race of the candidates is unknown. This study addresses this debate by analyzing novel survey, census, and candidate data from the Obama era of congressional elections (2010–2016) to test whether racially prejudiced attitudes held by whites decrease their likelihood of supporting black Democratic candidates and Democratic candidates as a whole. In line with theoretical predictions, this paper finds that Democratic House candidates are less likely to receive votes among white voters with strong racial resentment toward blacks, and black Democratic candidates fare even worse. These findings help to explain the persistence of black legislative underrepresentation and contribute to theories of partisan racial realignment.