Seminar with Annekatrin Deglow and Hanne Fjelde (Uppsala University)
The title of the paper " Threats of Electoral Violence and Support for Democracy in Nigeria ".
Does electoral violence affect citizens' willingness to compromise with democratic principles and endorse more authoritarian policies? We propose that electoral violence is likely to polarize the electorate and reinforce divisions between the contending groups. Such an environment makes individuals more likely to endorse policies that serve to strengthen and protect the position of their own group. We therefore expect individual responses to electoral violence to be conditional on partisanship: incumbent supporters will become more likely to endorse policies that grant more powers to the executive, whereas opposition supporters are more likely to resist said policies, as they undermine protection for their political rights. We test these expectations with data from a vignette experiment embedded in a nationally representative survey of 2,400 Nigerian citizens conducted just after the 2019 general elections. Our results suggest that incumbent supporters generally display more pro-authoritarian attitudes. Contrary to our expectations, however, violence does not seem to reinforce these preferences. Opposition supporters, on the other hand, reassert their pro-democracy orientations when faced with threats of electoral violence.