The Way we Were: How Histories of Co-Governance Alleviate Partisan Hostility

Will Horne*, James Adams, Noam Gidron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Comparative politics scholars argue that consensual democratic institutions encourage power-sharing that promotes “kinder, gentler” politics. We uncover one reason why this is the case: elite inter-party cooperation in consensual systems is associated with reduced inter-party hostility in the mass public. This is because governing parties’ supporters feel much more warmly toward their coalition partner(s) than we can explain based on policy agreement alone. Moreover, these warm affective evaluations linger long after the coalition itself has dissolved. We substantiate our arguments via analyses of CSES survey data from 19 Western democracies between 1996 and 2017, showing that current and past co-governance is associated with substantially warmer inter-party affective evaluations. This implies that electoral systems which encourage coalition governance may defuse partisan hostility.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)299-325
Number of pages27
JournalComparative Political Studies
Volume56
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • elections, public opinion, voting behavior
  • political parties
  • representation, electoral systems

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