Institut for Statskundskab

The impact of opposition criticism on the public’s evaluation of government competence

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An impressive literature examines how voters evaluate government performance based on its record. Yet this literature rarely studies the role of party communication for how voters use social problems to evaluate a government. In response, this article studies the importance of party communication. Using British monthly data from 2004 to 2013 across four issues, the analysis shows that social problems such as growing unemployment increasingly undermine voters’ approval of government competence on this issue when opposition criticism intensifies. In fact, social problems do not systematically influence voters’ evaluations of government competence unless opposition criticism is taken into account. This suggests an important role of opposition communication in representative democracy where the opposition helps voters hold the government to account.

TidsskriftParty Politics
Sider (fra-til)484-495
Antal sider12
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2020

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