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The paradox of poor representation: How voter–party incongruence curbs affective polarisation


Marchal, Nahema; Watson, David S (2022). The paradox of poor representation: How voter–party incongruence curbs affective polarisation. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 24(4):668-685.

Abstract

Research on the relationship between ideology and affective polarisation highlights ideological disagreement as a key driver of animosity between partisan groups. By operationalising disagreement on the left–right dimension, however, existing studies often overlook voter–party incongruence as a potential determinant of affective evaluations. How does incongruence on policy issues impact affective evaluations of mainstream political parties and their leaders? We tackle this question by analysing data from the British Election Study collected ahead of the 2019 UK General Election using an instrumental variable approach. Consistent with our expectations, we find that voter–party incongruence has a significant causal impact on affective evaluations. Perceived representational gaps between party and voter drive negative evaluations of the in-party and positive evaluations of the opposition, thus lowering affective polarisation overall. The results offer a more nuanced perspective on the role of ideological conflict in driving affective polarisation.

Abstract

Research on the relationship between ideology and affective polarisation highlights ideological disagreement as a key driver of animosity between partisan groups. By operationalising disagreement on the left–right dimension, however, existing studies often overlook voter–party incongruence as a potential determinant of affective evaluations. How does incongruence on policy issues impact affective evaluations of mainstream political parties and their leaders? We tackle this question by analysing data from the British Election Study collected ahead of the 2019 UK General Election using an instrumental variable approach. Consistent with our expectations, we find that voter–party incongruence has a significant causal impact on affective evaluations. Perceived representational gaps between party and voter drive negative evaluations of the in-party and positive evaluations of the opposition, thus lowering affective polarisation overall. The results offer a more nuanced perspective on the role of ideological conflict in driving affective polarisation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
290 Other religions
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Physical Sciences > Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law, Political Science and International Relations
Language:English
Date:1 November 2022
Deposited On:04 Mar 2022 08:56
Last Modified:27 Jun 2024 01:36
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1369-1481
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/13691481211048502
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)