Communicating the Rift: Voter Perceptions of Intraparty Dissent in Parliaments

Dominik Duell, Lea Kaftan, Jonathan Slapin, Sven-Oliver Proksch, Christopher Wratil

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Members of Parliament (MPs) who vote against their party can improve their public standing. But how do MPs explain and frame their rebellious behavior to maximize their appeal? And what can party leaders do to mitigate the damage done by intraparty dissent? Using a vignette survey experiment fielded in four European democracies, we study how statements that MPs and party leaders make about rebellion affect voter evaluations of MPs and leaders. We find that MPs benefit from explaining rebellion in terms of their responsiveness to voters, whereas strategies that highlight the importance of the MP’s own personal convictions are only effective with respondents who share the rebel’s opinion. In turn, party leaders fare best if they welcome an MP’s rebellious behavior irrespective of how that MP explains the vote. MP explanations that focus on the substance of a vote and critical responses from party leaders garner substantially less public support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-91
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 506014 Comparative politics

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