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The Conditional Impact of Blame Attribution on the Relationship Between Economic Adversity and Turnout

Abstract : Previous research has found that those facing economic adversity are less likely to vote. This has serious implications for the nature of democratic accountability, since those who are less likely to vote in an economic downturn may also be the ones most likely to punish the incumbent party. In fact, some have used aggregated electoral data to justify such a claim (Radcliff 1994). However, such conclusions are premature. Once the intervening effects of blame attribution are taken into consideration, there are conditions under which economic adversity actually enhances turnout. Data from the American National Election Studies (1990-98) demonstrate that those facing economic adversity are more likely to vote when they blame the government for economic outcomes. These are the same people who have been shown in numerous economic voting studies to be much less supportive of the in-party. These findings suggest that economic adversity does not necessarily constrain democratic accountability and highlight the perils associated with making inferences about individual-level behavior with aggregate data.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 8, 2022 - 3:53:10 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, April 9, 2022 - 3:31:24 AM

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Kevin Arceneaux. The Conditional Impact of Blame Attribution on the Relationship Between Economic Adversity and Turnout. Political Research Quarterly, SAGE Publications (UK and US), 2003, 56 (1), pp.67-75. ⟨10.1177/106591290305600107⟩. ⟨hal-03635572⟩

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