All (electoral) politics is local? Candidate's regional roots and vote choice

Philipp Harfst, Damien Bol, André Blais, Sona N. Golder, Jean François Laslier, Laura Stephenson, Karine Van Der Straeten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many authors argue that candidates are more popular among voters from their own region. Two potential explanations have been suggested: voters’ identification with their home region, and the representation of regional interests. The information on candidates’ residence can be transmitted to voters in different ways, the most easily accessible way being information printed on the ballot paper. However, most studies on “friends and neighbour voting” use aggregate data. Studies that rely on individual level data usually put respondents in hypothetical situations and confront them with synthetic candidates, reducing their realism. To bridge this gap and to test the effect of providing information on the candidates’ residence, we use data from a survey experiment to analyze voters’ responses to ballot paper information on the regional background of real candidates in the 2014 European election in Germany. We find that voters in an open list PR election are more likely to support regional candidates if ballot paper information on the candidates’ geographic background helps them to do so. The appeal of personal ties is a stronger explanation for vote preference than the one based on regional interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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