When Group-based Appeals Backfire: the Case of Place-based Appeals

13.03.2023 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Lukas Haffert
Lecturer affiliation: 
University of Zurich

Group-based identities have recently been re-emphasized as an important basis of political competition. A growing number of studies demonstrate that parties appeal very consciously to specific social groups and that these group-based appeals often improve the evaluation of parties and candidates. In this paper, we advance the understanding of this strategy by distinguishing between disadvantaged and privileged positions when studying place-based appeals. Using two survey experiments, conducted in Germany and England, we show that rural appeals have the intended effect and improve candidate evaluation among rural (disadvantaged) voters. By contrast, urban appeals trigger a negative reaction by privileged, urban voters. While this asymmetry is partly explained by urban citizens’ weaker local identities and lower place-based resentment, an important reason for urban voters’ dislike of group-based appeals is the antagonistic nature of these appeals. If the same policies are presented as responding to a shared interest of urban and rural dwellers, candidate evaluation improves. Thus, we conclude that people on the privileged side of a group divide are reluctant to endorse a framing of politics as being antagonistically structured by this divide, even if they identify with the privileged group and would benefit from the group-based policy proposal.