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Electoral Accountability in Extreme Conditions: An application to Belgian elections.

Within liberal democracies, elections offer a key moment to citizens
to hold incumbents accountable for the policies they have
implemented. Within the theoretical literature on electoral
accountability, however, it remains to be investigated what time
frame voters use to evaluate government, who is being held
accountable, and what kind of benchmark criteria are being used to
evaluate performance. These three research questions will be
investigated in the first elections after the rather exceptional
circumstances of the 2020-21 COVID 19 health crisis and its
economic consequences. While in 'normal' times it is already
doubted whether voters indeed are able to evaluate government
policy, the rapid fluctations in the current era offer a hard case to test
some of the basic paradigms of the theory on retrospective voting. In
this project, we will develop now survey modules to investigate the
time frame of the evaluation, the attribution of responsibility, and the
benchmarking being used to evaluate government performance.
These new and innovative instruments will be applied in a survey we
will conduct during the next elections in Belgium. An important
advantage is that we can compare the results of this survey with
electoral surveys we have conducted from 2009 on, using a similar
research design. Our main ambition, however, is to contribute to a
theoretical debate about whether voters have sufficient skills to
evaluate government policy, even in highly exceptional times.

Date:1 Jan 2022 →  Today
Keywords:elections, electoral behaviour, retrospective voting
Disciplines:Voting behaviour