The rhyme and reason of rebel support: exploring European voters' attitudes toward dissident MPs

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

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


Citizens often support politicians who vote against their parties in parliament. They view rebels as offering better representation, appreciate expressive acts, take rebellion as a signal of standing up for constituents, or see rebels as defending their moral convictions. Each explanation has different implications for representation, but they have not yet been tested systematically against one another. We implement survey experiments on nationally representative samples in the UK, Germany, France, and Italy to assess whether voters treat rebellion as a cue for better representation or infer positive character traits implying a valence advantage. Policy congruence does not drive voters' preference for rebels. However, voters do associate positive traits with rebel MPs, even if they do not feel better represented by them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPolitical Science Research and Methods
Early online date9 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 506014 Comparative politics


  • Experimental research
  • political parties and interest groups
  • representation and electoral systems
  • voting behavior

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