Retrospective voting and party support at elections: credit and blame for government and opposition

2016-10-27T07:10:10Z (GMT) by Carolina Plescia Sylvia Kritzinger
<p>Retrospective voting is arguably one of the most important mechanisms of representative democracy, and whether or not the public holds the government accountable for its policy performance has been extensively studied. In this paper, we test whether retrospective voting extends to parties in the opposition, that is whether and how parties’ past performance evaluations affect their vote, regardless of whether they were in government or in opposition. Taking advantage of a rich set of questions embedded in a representative German national elections panel, we update our knowledge on the retrospective voting mechanism by modeling retrospective voting at the party level. The findings indicate that the incumbent status is not the only criterion for retrospective voting, ultimately suggesting that both government and opposition parties can expect credit and blame for their conduct and this should provide some impetus for responsive performance of all parties.</p>