Congratulations to Petra Scheiter, who has been awarded a British Academy small grant for a project entitled 'Fairness and Voter Reactions to Government Opportunism'.
Governments the world over frequently behave opportunistically to boost their reelection chances. Leaders may time elections, for instance, to seize on favourable developments, exploit opposition weakness, or to "cut and run" before their popularity wanes. Voters can be expected to disapprove of such strategies because they raise fairness concerns and potentially distort the role of elections as instruments of accountability. Anecdotal evidence suggests that prime ministers fear such reactions. But how do fairness considerations affect voter responses to government opportunism? To date, this question remains completely unexplored. This project uses a survey experiment to shed a first light on the importance of fairness in voter reactions to opportunism, focusing on election timing. The project's findings will lay the foundations for a better understanding of electoral responses to government opportunism more broadly and feed into ongoing reform debates about keeping or introducing fixed election dates (which restrict strategic elections) in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
This project will run from 1 April 2016 to 30 April 2017.