The paradox of poor representation: How voter–party incongruence curbs affective polarisation

Nahema Marchal, David S Watson
2021
Research on the relationship between ideology and affective polarisation highlights ideological disagreement as a key driver of animosity between partisan groups. By operationalising disagreement on the left-right dimension, however, existing studies often overlook voter-party incongruence as a potential determinant of affective evaluations. How does incongruence on policy issues impact affective evaluations of mainstream political parties and their leaders? We tackle this question by analysing
more » ... data from the British Election Study collected ahead of the 2019 UK General Election using an instrumental variable approach. Consistent with our expectations, we find that voter-party incongruence has a significant causal impact on affective evaluations. Perceived representational gaps between party and voter drive negative evaluations of the in-party and positive evaluations of the opposition, thus lowering affective polarisation overall. The results offer a more nuanced perspective on the role of ideological conflict in driving affective polarisation.
doi:10.5167/uzh-217271 fatcat:wemyoked2jdk3flegwnvan6z6q