Being local (still) wins you more votes: more data from the UK

Liberal Democrat leaflets - CC BY-ND 2 0 courtesy of the Lib Dems

It’s been a while since I last looked at research evidence on whether local candidates do better in elections. So time to catch up with another experiment which has come to a similar conclusion: voters prefer local candidates.

The researchers ran a series of experiments, giving voters different biographies of (fictional) election candidates and seeing how support for the candidates varied depending on the biographies.

They found that local candidates did better than non-local ones. The effect diminished if people were given more other information about the candidate. But even when given extensive other information, the local factor was still noticeable.

Here’s the research paper.

Source: Rosie Campbell, Philip Cowley, Nick Vivyan, and Markus Wagner, Why Friends and Neighbors? Explaining the Electoral Appeal of Local Roots, The Journal of Politics, 2019 81:3, p.937-951.

You can read the other posts in the Evidence-based campaigning: what the academic research says series here.

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