Tuesday Seminar – 2 February

Evaluating Performance in Opposition

Dieter Stiers (University of Leuven)

Recent scholarship in retrospective voting has shown that voters do not only evaluate incumbent performance when they go to the polls, but the performance of parties in opposition as well. So far, however, these studies could only speculate what it is exactly that voters evaluate of the performance of parties in opposition. Using the answers to a unique question included in a Belgian electoral study in 2019, first, this study investigates what voters think about when they evaluate performance in opposition. Second, it tests whether voters also hold opposition parties responsible for the state of affairs in the country. The results show that voters care most about the competence of opposition parties in scrutinising the government and providing constructive criticism – and dislike unconstructive overly negative opposition. Furthermore, while less than the incumbent parties, voters also hold opposition parties accountable for the state of affairs in their country. These results provide a vital step in further developing a framework of retrospective voting on the party level.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 20 October 2022 at 8 h 34 min.