What are the consequences of snap elections on citizens’ voting behavior?

Jean-Francois Daoust, Gabrielle Péloquin-Skulski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In some democracies, the ruling party can strategically call a “snap” (or “early”) election before the end of its mandate in order to maximise its chances of re-election. Little is known on the consequences of calling such an election. In this article, we contribute to this literature by analyzing whether snap elections affect citizens’ voting behavior. Does being angry at the decision of the incumbent government have an impact on citizens’ decision to vote or not to vote and/or their vote choice calculus? To answer these questions, we make use of two different and independently conducted surveys in Canada during a snap election. We do not find evidence that calling an early election reduces citizens’ likelihood to vote. However, when they do decide to vote, citizens that resent the decision to call an early election are substantially more likely to punish the incumbent government.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRepresentation: Journal of Representative Democracy (JRD)
Early online date20 Aug 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Aug 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • snap election
  • early election
  • voting behavior
  • turnout
  • vote choice
  • accountability


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