Comparative Politics

B12 - Voters, Parties, and Elections

Date: Jun 13 | Time: 12:00pm to 01:30pm | Location:

Racial Identity and Attitudes among the North American White Working Class: Lewis Krashinsky (Princeton University), Chris Achen (Princeton University)
Abstract: Across the American Midwest, white working-class voters have shifted their electoral support to Donald Trump and the Republican Party. However, directly to the north, white working-class voters across Ontario have remained much more supportive of left-wing parties. To what extent is this comparative divergence in electoral behaviour traceable to differences in white racial identity and racial attitudes? This paper utilizes a mixed-methods approach to investigate this question. It analyzes interview evidence from selected case studies in Windsor, Ontario and Macomb County, Michigan; original survey data; and an original conjoint experiment. This paper has several major findings. First, experimental evidence shows that non-white political candidates receive a greater electoral penalty from American white working-class voters. Second, white racial identity and racial resentment have a strong, positive association with right-wing voting in both countries, but the magnitude of this effect is larger for American white working-class voters. Third, qualitative evidence suggests that racial attitudes and racial divisions are more salient in Macomb County relative to Windsor. Finally, while these results are driven in part by the differing actions of right-wing political elites, they also evidently reflect attitudinal differences in the populations. This paper concludes that Canadian scholarship must pay closer attention to how racial attitudes and identity affect voting behaviour.

Forecasting in New Democracies: Vote Intention Polling and Vote Expectation Polling in Central America: Brian Thompson Collart (Université Laval), Yannick Dufresne (Université Laval)
Abstract: Previous research demonstrates citizens can predict election outcomes with success. However, the bulk of research on citizen election forecasting covers only those elections occurring in advanced democracies. This study examines the accuracy of citizen election forecasting in Central America, a previously unstudied region by researchers. Since 1984, the CID Gallup firm has fielded surveys in Central America containing citizen forecasting items. These items ask citizens in Central American countries to predict the next president of their country. In this paper, we compare the performance of two types of election forecasting models in Central America: Vote intention polling and vote expectation polling. We evaluate each model along two measures of accuracy. We expect vote expectation polling in Central America to compare favourably to vote intention polling.

The Rural-Urban Cleavage in US Presidential and Congressional Elections: Stability and Change: Valentin Pautonnier (Université de Montréal), Ruth Dassonneville (Université de Montréal), Richard Nadeau (Université de Montréal), Michael Lewis Beck (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Voting behavior in US elections seems increasingly characterized by an important ruralurban divide in voting behavior, with rural voters supporting the Republican Party and urban voters preferring to vote for the Democratic Party. While we are rapidly gaining insights into the sources of this divide, with much work seeking to better understand why rural voters turn to the Republican Party, we know less about the uniqueness of this divide, both from a longitudinal perspective and in contrast to other important divides in US politics. In this research note, we contextualize the rural-urban cleavage in two important ways. First, we show that the rural-urban cleavage was exceptionally large in 2016 and 2020, both for Presidential but also Congressional elections. Second, we show that even in those elections for which the rural-urban divide is very stark, the strength of the rural-urban cleavage is only a fraction of that of the race and religious cleavages in US politics. Third, a text analysis of debates and plateforms shows that Republicans did not need to make a specigic appeal to rurality to increase their advantage in rural areas.

Where Has Voting Behavior Nationalized? Evidence from Election Results and Surveys in Eleven Countries: Daniel Hopkins (University of Pennsylvania), Frederik Hjorth (University of Copenhagen), Gall Sigler (University of Pennsylvania)
Abstract: In recent decades, U.S. voting behavior has nationalized: subnational vote choices increasingly reflect national allegiances. Such nationalization can undermine political accountability, with particular consequences in decentralized/federalist countries. But to understand nationalization's causes, it is critical to study multiple democracies. We link subnational and national election returns in ten European and American democracies with varying centralization. We then develop a novel nationalization measure based on correlations in party support across governmental levels. In most countries, cross-level nationalization has been steady for decades, often at high levels. The nationalization of American voting behavior has reached comparably high levels, meaning that America is no longer an outlier. Coupled with thirteen surveys in nine overlapping countries, these findings challenge monocausal explanations of nationalization, including those emphasizing changing media markets. However, lower subnational authority, broadband penetration, less fragmented party systems, and contemporaneous elections are tentatively associated with heightened nationalization, often within countries.