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Elections and the Mobilisation of Political Efficacy

TitleElections and the Mobilisation of Political Efficacy
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsXena, Carla
Conference Name1st European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
Keywordselections, expectations, political efficacy
Abstract

Elections are the most salient participatory process in representative democracy. They offer a precious opportunity for citizens to feel they can influence the political process. Yet, not much attention has been paid to the role of elections and the particular circumstances under these are held in shaping perceptions of influence on politics. This paper seeks to assess whether and to what extent the electoral context of the United Kingdom 2010 contest fostered the feeling among citizens that they were an active part of the political process. The findings suggest that elections per se do not enhance feelings of system’s responsiveness to individual’s actions but neither does support for winning or losing parties. On the contrary, political efficacy seems to behave differently among supporters of the three main parties depending on expectations about their success but also, contingent upon past electoral outcomes.

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