Jumping Ship? Corruption Perceptions, Opposition Parties, and Reelecting Incumbents in Latin America
Emily Elia and Leslie Schwindt-Bayer
In Latin America, corruption often fails to bring down incumbents at the ballot box. When do voters jump ship? We argue that voters are more likely not to reelect an incumbent with poor corruption performance when they have an ideologically viable alternative. We test this with AmericasBarometer survey data for eighteen Latin American countries from 2008-2014. We find that respondents who perceive the incumbent government as failing to combat corruption and are ideologically close to the incumbent are more likely to intend to vote against the incumbent if they are ideologically close to an opposition alternative. We then corroborate these findings with a survey experiment in Mexico. Mexican voters have a higher likelihood of abandoning an ideologically similar but corrupt incumbent governor when an ideologically proximate opposition party is available. We conclude that the existence of an ideologically viable alternative increases voters’ probability of engaging in corruption voting against incumbents.
Can The Fairer Sex Save The Day? Voting for Women After Corruption Scandals
In an election subsequent to a corruption scandal, are voters more likely to continue their support of the scandalized political party when that party puts forth female candidates instead of male candidates? Due to the gender stereotypes, women are often seen as less corrupt than men. In experimental and survey settings, respondents frequently report that they anticipate women public officials to be better at combatting corruption and less likely to be involved in corrupt behavior than men. Recent studies have begun to examine how political parties may use this stereotype to their advantage by strategically running more women candidates in elections when corruption is salient. By presenting voters with female candidates, parties hope to signal cleaner, more honest governance. Previous work shows that political parties do increase the number of female candidates on their party lists when corruption perceptions are high amongst the electorate, but no study has yet tested if voters actually respond more positively to female candidates in a post-scandal environment when a party’s corrupt behavior is known. Is this feminization strategy effective? With an original survey experiment, this study tests if female candidates are preferred by voters after a corruption scandal.
Drafts available upon request.