Pre-electoral Coalition Strategies

Research question/goal: 

Under which conditions are parties willing to send coalition signals during election campaigns? In this project, we bring together coalition-specific voting considerations with parties' strategic decision to communicate coalition politics during campaigns. Our theoretical model generates expectations about the conditions under which parties signal their preferred coalitions, actively ruling-out concrete coalition-options as well as when they should decide to remain silent about their preferred coalitions. Within this project we will compile data that allow us to test implications from our theoretical model. We will create a comparative database that codes coalition signals in conjunction with aggregated election polls and survey measures. This cross-country database will be complemented by in-depth studies of the coalition dynamics during selected electoral campaigns in Germany and the Netherlands in 2017.

Current stage: 

In 2020, we published a paper studying how coalition signals shape voting behaviour. Furthermore, we conducted an experiment prior to the Irish general election to study the role of risk preferences in coalition-directed voting. In the same context, another experiment investigated how voters react when parties break their coalition promises. We are currently working closely with computer scientists at the University of Mannheim with the aim of training a classifier to automatically detect coalition signals. We presented working papers from the project at international conferences.

Fact sheet

2015 to 2021
Data Sources: 
Comparative database of coalition signals; Longitudinal Survey for Germany and the Netherlands
Geographic Space: 
Detailed studies in Germany and the Netherlands; Comparative Study: twenty countries with a multi-party system