Assessing the Relative Influence of Party Unity on Vote Choice: Evidence from a Conjoint Experiment

Political Science Research and Methods (First View): 1-9

Observational studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that party unity improves a party's electoral performance. Yet, due to a lack of experimental evidence, the causal standing of these findings remains unclear. Moreover, party unity manifests in various ways and we do not know how much different types of party unity affect the vote. Relying on a conjoint experiment implemented in a probability-based survey of the German population, our study unveils the distinct causal effect of different forms of party unity on vote choice. We further establish that appearing united can compensate for substantive policy distances between parties and voters. These findings have important implications for our understanding of how citizens vote and how intra-party politics affects the political representation of citizens in democracies.

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