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Why Don't Partisans Sanction Electoral Malpractice?

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Partisans rarely punish their party at the polls for violating democratic norms or cheating in elections. However, we know little about the underlying reasons. I examine why partisans rarely sanction in-party malpractice. Using pre-registered survey experiments in Denmark and Mexico, I examine the different steps in how partisans adjust their views in response to revelations of electoral malpractice and distinguish between two substantively different explanations. Do pervasive biases prevent partisans from viewing in-party malpractice as illegitimate? Or, do partisans accurately update their views when learning about malpractice but refrain from voting against their party? The analysis demonstrates that partisans do not apply double standards when evaluating malpractice. However, although partisans punish in-party malpractice, they hold opposing parties in such low esteem that even revelations of malpractice do not change their minds. These findings contribute to our understanding of how partisans think about electoral malpractice and political malfeasance more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Pages (from-to)407-423
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

    Research areas

  • BIAS, CORRUPTION, FRAUD, INSTITUTIONS, LEGITIMACY, PERCEPTIONS, POLARIZATION, PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS, PUBLIC-OPINION, SUPPORT, democracy, elections, electoral malpractice, partisanship, public opinion, survey experiment

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