Appealing to the Local Voter: Place-Based Campaigning and the Supply-Side of the Urban- Rural Divide

About this Session


Thu. 07.04. 11:45



Speaker: Lukas Haffert, Co-Authors: Tabea Palmtag, Dominik Schraff

The divide between urban and rural areas has become an important conflict line in many political systems. However, we know little about the mobilization of this divide in electoral politics. Using a survey experiment conducted in Germany and England, we ask whether politicians can win voters’ support by making place-based appeals. We analyze the evaluation of fictitious candidates who use symbolic, economic, or cultural appeals to address urban or rural voters. Compared to a neutral appeal, rural appeals systematically improve candidate evaluation among rural voters. By contrast, place-based appeals have no or even negative effects on urban voters. This asymmetry is partly explained by the fact that urban citizens on average have weaker local identities and report lower place-based resentment. Whether an appeal emphasizes the symbolic, cultural, or economic dimension of urban-rural conflict has only minor effects. Our presentation thus underlines the importance of the supply side of the urban-rural divide.