Noam Titelman, Benjamin E Lauderdale, “The Effects of Party Labels on Vote Choice with Realistic Candidate Differentiation”, Political Science Research and Methods

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In this paper we test how much party labels influence vote choices between candidates when voters have access to realistically distributed information about candidate positions and demographics. We do not seek to adjudicate a long-running debate about the role of party labels, but present some nuances on the two archetypal theoretical views on vote choices. We use data from the Representative Audit of Britain (RAB) and the British Elections Study (BES) to generate electoral match-ups between randomly selected Conservative versus Labour candidates, with only half of respondents seeing party labels in addition to candidates’ positions and demographics. For our experiment fielded in October 2021, we find negligible to moderate effects of party labels on vote choices. Our results suggest the information on candidate positions and party labels largely act as substitutes for one another, with only modest changes when party labels are made explicit.

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