How local personal vote-earning attributes affect the aggregate party vote share: Evidence from the Belgian flexible-list PR system (2003–2014)

G.-J. Put, J. Smulders, B. Maddens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article investigates the effect of candidates exhibiting local personal vote-earning attributes (PVEA) on the aggregate party vote share at the district level. Previous research has often assumed that packing ballot lists with localized candidates increases the aggregate party vote and seat shares. We present a strict empirical test of this argument by analysing the relative electoral swing of ballot lists at the district level, a measure of change in party vote shares which controls for the national party trend and previous party results in the district. The analysis is based on data of 7527 candidacies during six Belgian regional and federal election cycles between 2003 and 2014, which is aggregated to an original data set of 223 ballot lists. The ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models do not show a significant effect of candidates exhibiting local PVEA on relative electoral swing of ballot lists. However, the results suggest that ballot lists do benefit electorally if candidates with local PVEA are geographically distributed over different municipalities in the district.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-479
Number of pages16
JournalPolitics
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Belgium
  • electoral swing
  • flexible-list PR system
  • local PVEA
  • nomination strategies

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