Taking Sides in Other People’s Elections: The Polarizing Effect of Foreign Intervention


Daniel Corstange, Nikolay Marinov

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Corstange, Daniel, Nikolay Marinov (2012). "Taking Sides in Other People’s Elections: The Polarizing Effect of Foreign Intervention," American Journal of Political Science 56(3): 655–670. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2012.00583.x
What do voters think when outside powers become de facto participants in a country’s election? We conceptualize two types of foreign intervention: a partisan stance, where the outsider roots for a particular candidate slate, and a process stance, where outsiders support the democratic process. We theorize that a partisan outside message will polarize partisan actors domestically on the issue of appropriate relations with the outsiders: partisans who are supported will want closer relations with the outside power, and partisans who are opposed will favor more distant relations. A process message, in contrast, will have a moderating effect on voters’ attitudes. We present evidence of partisan polarization along those lines from a survey experiment we conducted in Lebanon in the wake of the 2009 parliamentary elections. We discuss the implications of our findings for future studies of how outsiders can encourage moderate electoral outcomes in democratizing states.
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