Monday, April 13, 2015

Candidate Characteristics and the Construction of Party Lists

I am presenting a second Midwest Political Science Association Conference paper (available here) with Michael Lynch that addresses how political parties manage party lists.* Specifically, it investigates how careful cultivation of down-list candidates (those situated in hopeless list positions) may benefit the party. We take advantage of a unique feature of Lithuania's party-list vote - the presence of candidate preference votes - to gauge how characteristics associated with personal vote-seeking activities affect spatial variation in preference vote acquisition. We find that preference vote performance is enhanced in regions where candidates have a local connection (e.g., nativity or residency), even among those who do not contest the constituency tier of the mixed-member system. Our findings suggest that parties can enhance their overall performance by diversifying party lists, even among unelectable list positions.

*The authors thank Monika Aleknaviciute and Maksym Palamarenko for research assistance. The research was supported, in part, by a grant from the National Science Foundation (SES – 0751662, PIs Ellis Krauss, Robert Pekkanen, and Matt Soberg Shugart).

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