Two new publications in Electoral Studies.
Can wedge strategies by mainstream parties cross-cut the far right vote? In work with Violeta Haas, Heike Klüver and Petra Schleiter, I examine whether mainstream parties can employ wedge issue campaigns that divide the far right anti-immigration vote to win back electoral support. Wedge issues that cross-cut the anti-immigration vote may enhance the electoral support of mainstream parties, as long as they do not simultaneously alienate pro-immigration voters. We evaluate this expectation using a panel survey experiment conducted during the 2021 German federal election. The first wave allows us to identify wedge issues that the mainstream CDU/CSU can stress to cross-cut the anti-immigration vote. The second wave raises the salience of these issues by manipulating the perceived issue agenda of the CDU/CSU using hypothetical campaign posters. While our results show that wedge issue strategies are not effective on average, exploratory analyses reveal the potential of strategically targeted messaging in winning back support of some anti-immigration voters.
When information is not enough for strategic voting, joint work with Benjamin Schlegel and Patrick Kraft. We disentangle the effect of political information from the effect of cognitive capacity on strategic voting in an experimental study. We find that especially the combination of information and cognitive resources increases strategic voting if people have sufficient incentives to vote strategically. Thus, our findings suggest that a narrow focus on individual levels of information to facilitate strategic voting and improve democratic representation is incomplete.