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Communicating the Rift: Voter Perceptions of Intraparty Dissent in Parliaments


Duell, Dominik; Kaftan, Lea; Proksch, Sven-Oliver; Slapin, Jonathan B; Wratil, Christopher (2023). Communicating the Rift: Voter Perceptions of Intraparty Dissent in Parliaments. The Journal of Politics, 85(1):76-91.

Abstract

Members of Parliament (MPs) who vote against their party can improve their public standing. But how do MPs explain and frame their rebellious behavior to maximize their appeal? And what can party leaders do to mitigate the damage done by intraparty dissent? Using a vignette survey experiment fielded in four European democracies, we study how statements that MPs and party leaders make about rebellion affect voter evaluations of MPs and leaders. We find that MPs benefit from explaining rebellion in terms of their responsiveness to voters, whereas strategies that highlight the importance of the MP’s own personal convictions are only effective with respondents who share the rebel’s opinion. In turn, party leaders fare best if they welcome an MP’s rebellious behavior irrespective of how that MP explains the vote. MP explanations that focus on the substance of a vote and critical responses from party leaders garner substantially less public support.

Abstract

Members of Parliament (MPs) who vote against their party can improve their public standing. But how do MPs explain and frame their rebellious behavior to maximize their appeal? And what can party leaders do to mitigate the damage done by intraparty dissent? Using a vignette survey experiment fielded in four European democracies, we study how statements that MPs and party leaders make about rebellion affect voter evaluations of MPs and leaders. We find that MPs benefit from explaining rebellion in terms of their responsiveness to voters, whereas strategies that highlight the importance of the MP’s own personal convictions are only effective with respondents who share the rebel’s opinion. In turn, party leaders fare best if they welcome an MP’s rebellious behavior irrespective of how that MP explains the vote. MP explanations that focus on the substance of a vote and critical responses from party leaders garner substantially less public support.

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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:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science
Language:English
Date:1 January 2023
Deposited On:19 Dec 2022 10:43
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 02:36
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:0022-3816
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1086/720645
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English