Local means local, does it? Regional identification and preferences for local candidates

Sofia Collignon, Javier Sajuria

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The literature on candidate selection has found that voters favour local candidates, as they are thought to be more apt to represent their constituents. An important caveat is that it requires that voters have knowledge of the candidates' characteristics, and to value localism. Previous research concentrates on candidate characteristics, leaving unanswered the question of who considers localism to be important when making their vote choices. This research addresses the gap by showing that regional identification has a strong relationship with preference for local candidates. We test this argument by analysing data from the British Election Survey 2015 using multilevel models. The results show that voters who feel stronger about their distinctive regional identities care significantly more about localism. Additionally, this effect is different when the party system includes a party that explicitly channels these feelings, suggesting that the advantage of local candidates is dependent on the context of party competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-178
Number of pages9
JournalElectoral Studies
Early online date21 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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