Is there a friends-and-neighbors effect for party leaders?

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Abstract

The friends-and-neighbors effect, which refers to voters' tendency to support politicians near hometown areas, has not yet been tested systematically for party leaders. Linking a built-for-purpose dataset on 266 leaders to a sample of 380,208 voters from 50 country elections in 19 parliamentary democracies drawn from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) project, this article examines the effect of party leaders' local proximity on voters' leader evaluations and voting intentions. I hypothesize that leaders receive more positive evaluations and electoral support from voters in the district where they run for election. The results show that shared district increases voters' sympathy for leaders and their inclination to vote for the party of ‘near’ leaders. While the location of party leaders affects voters in all electoral systems, I find that the friends-and-neighbors effect on leader evaluations and party vote choice is stronger in systems with personalized, preferential and combined ballots.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102338
Number of pages32
JournalElectoral Studies
Volume71
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • CSES
  • Friends-and-neighbors effect
  • Leader evaluations
  • Party leaders

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