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Department of Political Science Presents

Committed or Conditional Democrats? Opposition Dynamics in Electoral Autocracies

9/26/18, 11:15 AM

About this event

According to Professor Jennifer Gandhi, in electoral autocracies, opposition coalition formation offers the best hope of getting to democracy. Yet forming electoral coalitions also entails convincing opposition voters to ignore compromises and engage in the cross-party voting necessary for opposition victory. To what extent are voters committed to defeating the autocratic incumbent even if it would result in dislikeable outcomes? A survey experiment in Malaysia finds that opposition voters overwhelmingly express pre-treatment support for the current opposition coalition. But when exposed to a treatment vignette about which member party might lead the next government, many voters retract their support. Specifically, voters’ support for the coalition declines when their least preferred member is expected to control the government and when they can vote for a closer ideological alternative outside of the coalition. While voters are committed to opposition unity and democratic transition, that commitment is sensitive to the anticipated distributional consequences of an opposition victory.

Professor Gandhi of Emory University will present "Committed or Conditional Democrats? Opposition Dynamics in Electoral Autocracies" to the Comparative Politics Colloquium for the CPC's first event of the year!

Please contact belar007@umn.edu with any questions.
Event Location
  • 1314 Social Science Building
  • 267 19th Ave S, Ste 1314
  • Minneapolis MN
  • USA - United States