The Winning Party Platform: Voter Perceptions Of Party Positions And Voting In Urban Africa

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Dr.. Hye-Sung Kim, Assistant Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Previous literature suggests that some African parties employ non-valence positional issues in their party platforms and that this practice is more prevalent in some countries than in others; however, no quantitative research has analysed the electoral effects of non-valenced campaigns. How do African voters perceive parties’ policy positions? Who uses party platforms to choose candidates? Using data from an original survey experiment conducted in Nairobi, we examine voter perceptions of party platforms and their behaviour in the 2017 Kenyan presidential elections. We find that the opposition party’s clearer messaging helps average voters recognise and characterise the party, compared to the incumbent’s moderate policy stance. Moreover, while both parties’ policy positions positively affect voting, non-partisan voters are more likely to support a candidate advocating moderate policies. This implies an incumbency advantage: incumbents’ broad-appeal strategies help maximise their votes, whereas opposition parties have limited strategy options.

Additional Information

Kim EK, Kim H-S. The Winning Party Platform: Voter Perceptions of Party Positions and Voting in Urban Africa. 2021. doi:10.1177/00020397211030934. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2021
Kenya, party platform, voter perception, voting behaviour, positional issue

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