Explaining vote choice in Africa’s emerging democracies

Type Conference Paper - 2009 meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL.
Title Explaining vote choice in Africa’s emerging democracies
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
URL https://fsi.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/evnts/media//Andrews_Inman_Explaining_Vote_Choice_in_Af​rican_Democracies.pdf
In this paper, we study the voting behavior of Africans in seven countries currently ranked as “free” by Freedom House International. Thus, we are examining a select set of African countries, each of which hold regular elections at the national and local levels, support a free press and free speech and allow citizens to gather publicly to express their political views. Using the 2005 Round 3 Afrobarometer survey, we study why Africans in these seven free countries turnout to vote and choose to vote for a particular political party. Studying the political choices of Africans who actually have the opportunity to make such choices tells us a great deal about the characteristics of democracy in these seven countries. What we find is surprising, interesting and encouraging. While ethnic ties affect vote choice in Africa, retrospective evaluations of governmental corruption are equally important. Likewise, partisanship exerts separable and strong affects on vote choice, even controlling for ethnicity. In addition, we find some evidence that clientelism, defined as vote-buying, is targeted by the ruling elite at supporters of the opposition; however, these effects are significant only in our pooled sample. In separate country sample analyses, clientelism has no effect on vote choice.

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