Promoting Ethnic Equality In Campaign Messages: Survey Experimental Evidence From Nairobi, Kenya

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: In urban sub-Saharan Africa, leaders should appeal to voters of diverse ethnic backgrounds for electoral success. Yet, the political salience of ethnic inequality demands their attention to ethnicity issues in campaign messaging. This study examines the impacts on voter preference of appeals to ethnic equality by using a conjoint experiment conducted in Nairobi, Kenya. Appeals to ethnic equality were varied randomly as follows: (1) no appeal to ethnic equality, (2) appeals to equal opportunities for all ethnic groups (pan-ethnic appeal), and (3) appeals to opportunities for ethnic minorities (pro-minority appeal). The study found a substantial increase in support for politicians making appeals to ethnic equality, while pan-ethnic appeals increased voter support for candidates more than pro-minority appeals. Pan-ethnic appeals were more effective than pro-minority appeals because they bolster support from co-ethnic voters who are also from the candidate's party, while not alienating non-co-ethnic voters or voters affiliated with other parties.

Additional Information

Kim H-S. Promoting ethnic equality in campaign messages: Survey experimental evidence from Nairobi, Kenya. Electoral Studies. 2021;70. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2020.102278. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2021
Kenya, Campaign message, Ethnic equality, Pan-ethnic appeal, Pro-minority appeal, Experiment

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