Elections Activate Partisanship Across Countries

Elections Activate Partisanship Across Countries
Shane P. Singh
Judd R. Thornton

It has long been argued that elections make underlying partisan predispositions more prominent. However, existing observational research on this topic is limited by the lack of an exogenous measure of election salience. To overcome this, in our recent article in the American Political Science Review, we leverage the fact that the dates on which Comparative Studies in Electoral Systems (CSES) respondents are interviewed within each post-election survey are likely unrelated to partisanship and its correlates, and we use the number of days between the day of the election and the date on which a respondent was interviewed to capture election salience. Under the assumption of as if random interview assignment within election surveys, we are able to identify the causal effects of election salience on partisan attachments.

We account for the fact that survey firms operate under varying constraints and schedules across countries. For example, all interviews in one country may occur within a few weeks following the election, whereas in another country, the interviews might take several months to complete. Thus, in addition to estimating a random intercept for each CSES election survey in each country, we allow the effect of our measure of election salience to vary across surveys. Continue reading “Elections Activate Partisanship Across Countries”