Voters and Participation

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Lawrence McKay

Hi Josh and Jac, Really enjoyed the paper, which goes to some classic stuff about welfare attitudes… my Masters was on this so quite close to my heart despite a change of focus! Have a few comments: I really liked the replication of the experiment and the finding about lib/auth is very interesting – we seem to have mounting evidence that lib-auth matters more than left-right for welfare attitudes which (in my opinion) explains a lot about recent political realignment and the Corbyn movement in particular… The results don’t seem too ‘puzzling’ to me and wouldn’t worry me with submitting!… Read more »

Joshua Thorp

Cheers, Lawrence. These are really great thoughts and thanks so much for engaging so constructively with the paper. I think you could be right about the ethnicity result in the birth condition in S1. I didn’t have many priors about the lib-auth variable – the results seem intuitive in many respects but Jac and I were both surprised by the magnitude of the effects. Your point about policy implications is very helpful. We do discuss this in the paper, but I wonder if we could also leverage that focus further in subsequent experiments. The apparent lack of electoral punishment for… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Joshua Thorp
Tom Barton

Hi Brian, Really enjoyed the presentation and how you chose to focus on what could close the gaps in turnout rather than how turnout is increased overall. I just have a few comments/ questions about your data and modelling strategies. Firstly, with the data collection on voter registration did you do this for only countries in the CSES or globally, did you have to omit any countries due to not being able to find data, if so which ones? Secondly, in the paper you mention when re-running the registration models with fewer studies you then get insignificant results could you… Read more »

Brian Boyle

Hi Tom, thanks so much for the feedback!   The voter registration data was only coded for the CSES cases so far, but I’ll be looking to expand this more generally, as well as including the new batch of elections in wave 5 of CSES. There was lots of interesting country-specific features that popped up, and there were a few cases that were difficult to get enough information on. Thailand was one example where the system is somewhat less formalised, so it’s difficult to work out who the burden of registration lands. I’ll stick the data and appendix with all… Read more »

Tom Barton

Thank you for your responses Brian. In terms of the data collection I have completed an initial collection of registration requirements and in-person identification. I know I struggled with Lao as all I could find said ‘registration is up to individual village chiefs or local community leaders’. I’m happy to share this if you were looking to do any validation. Also, the I know the Electoral Integrity Project and IDEA International have also begun to collect similar data. For now the way I am approaching voter registration laws is do they put an additional ‘hurdle’ in place? This is in… Read more »

Stuart Fox

Thanks very much for these interesting papers everyone! Some fascinating research underway and I’m looking forward to learning more about what you find. I have some thoughts and questions for each beginning with Michele. I think your project is interesting and your question of how EU citizens can participate in democratic processes in the UK is certainly important. My question for you is what consideration you are making about how interested EU citizens are in participating in local government in the UK? It’s one thing to focus on the opportunities and support for doing so provided by local government, but… Read more »

Michele Zadra

Thank you very much for your question Stuart, because it helps me to clarify an important element of my research that wasn’t very clear from my presentation (I guess I tried to condense too much information and so lost important details in the process). I agree that local elections are considered irrelevant by the average British citizen, as proven by the very low turnout (which I mention in my talk, around 30-35%). Yet, there is an important difference between British citizens’ electoral rights and EU citizens’ electoral rights, which make local elections more significant in terms of political engagement for… Read more »

Stuart Fox

Josh and Jac I think your project is very interesting and important. I think the role of public opinion in shaping policy outcomes such as those relating to welfare support or climate change is often underappreciated (e.g., there’s little point in blaming governments for cutting welfare support if it’s something demanded by the public), and work of this kind is vital to understand that public opinion. My first question relates to your choice of vignette and your surprising finding regarding Khalid’s lower deservedness for their birth condition. Like you I find this puzzling but I wonder whether your choice to… Read more »

Joshua Thorp

Hi Stuart, This is really helpful, thanks so much for your comments. I had a couple of thoughts re. the questions you raised. I certainly understand your concerns about Yemen and I’ve had a think about how that could be shaping the results. I think I’d expect the fact that Yemen is war-torn to have the opposite effect in the birth condition. Most people are sympathetic toward migrants fleeing war than they are toward migrants leaving under less extreme circumstances (e.g. “economic migrants” are stigmatized, whereas refugees are seen as legitimate) – my guess is this would induce respondents to… Read more »

William Horncastle

Hi Brian, Thanks for sharing your research – I really enjoyed your presentation. As someone who studies a specific section of Electoral Rules (here would be a good time to plug my have a paper on political finance regulations in the Political Responsiveness panel!), I wonder whether you have ever looked into, or would consider looking into, political finance regulation in the context of your research. Watching your presentation made me wonder whether there is a link to be explored between relative levels of campaign spending between elections and voter turnout i.e. does increased spending increase overall voter turnout? Does… Read more »

Brian Boyle

Hi William, thanks very much for the feedback! I’ll definitely be taking a look at your research, and I agree that’d be an excellent idea, there are so many aspects that you could bring in with financial regulation. I’d love to see whether the regulatory guidelines have consistent links with aggregate turnout or inequality, and to what extent this could results in any knock-on effect for how parties decide to actually use their funding. Whether budget considerations influence the available campaigning platforms (online, door-to-door canvassing etc.), or even their style like using negative attack ads, may intuitively impact participation across… Read more »

Stuart Fox

Brian I think your research is timely and has some interests in common with my own regarding the causes of inequalities in turnout (and, therefore, political representation) and what can be done to address them. I also think your research method and the clarity with which you explain and justify it is commendable. My first question for you relates to the distinctiveness of your findings. I think your findings are good and well justified and make a decent contribution to debates regarding inequalities in turnout, but their distinctiveness from what is already established in the literature is less clear. I… Read more »

Brian Boyle

Hi Stuart, thanks very much for the feedback, this is a great help.   Further interactions at both levels are definitely something I’d like to look at in future research. As you say, it is the cross-section between these socio-demographic inequalities where the greatest degree of political disengagement lies, and at the other level of analysis, it may be that specific combinations of electoral rules are most effective in addressing their political aspirations   In terms of compulsory voting, I agree its effects on turnout are well studied, and that’s why the focus on my research is on exploring a… Read more »

Stuart Fox

Hi Brian Thanks for this, I think your research sounds really interesting and I do think it makes a great contribution. I agree that making voting as accessible as possible is probably the way to go (along with PR, but that’s probably less likely to be implemented in the UK than compulsory voting at the moment) to reduce turnout inequalities. I’m working on research projects in this area at the moment relating to age inequalities and how volunteering schemes can be used to reduce them, and I’m planning to expand the work to consider Votes at 16 in the future.… Read more »

Leah Rea

Thank you so much for your presentation and very interesting research, Brian! This is something I am interested in outside of my academic life so I really enjoyed your presentation. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on the role of voter ID? Being from Northern Ireland, this is something we take for granted here but I know it is not in application and is contentious elsewhere. Thank you!

Brian Boyle

Hi Leah, thanks very much for the kind words. Great question, this is another really interesting area I’d like to look at more in the future. As with voter registration I think ID is very context dependent. It’s always the balance between reducing any potential voter fraud vs the additional barriers it imposes, and who this impacts most. While ID requirements impose education costs in the same way as registration (if you had no idea you needed it when you turn up at the polls), there’s also the additional financial barriers that come with having to spend 30 or 80… Read more »

Giorgia Borgnino

Hi Brian! Wow, great presentation! I really enjoyed how you build up your models and your results are very interesting.

Just a quick question: have you also consider if there may be a difference according to the local/national/European nature of the elections? 

Brian Boyle

Hi Giorgia, thanks so much. Yes, I imagine there would be lots of different effects at play across election type. I had originally planned on using European Election Study data as part of a secondary analysis, but that was wishful thinking when PhD deadlines came thick and fast ha!

I’d love to compare these effects across different election types, especially since some countries use different electoral systems at their local/national/supranational elections, and the relatively low turnouts might exacerbate voting inequalities even further if only the most engaged are taking part.

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