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Accepted Paper:

Are populists popular? A survey experiment on voter-party linkages in urbanising Africa  
Kristian Hoelscher (PRIO) Nicholas Dorward (University of Bristol) Melanie Phillips (University of California, Berkeley)

Paper short abstract:

Africa is urbanising, with implications for citizenship and politics. Populism is increasingly used to mobilize urban voters. A survey experiment in Kampala examines how voting intention and political support relates to characteristics of (i) voters, (ii) politicians and (iii) populist appeals.

Paper long abstract:

Africa is rapidly urbanising, with fundamental implications for citizenship and politics. The last two decades have produced a wealth of research on urban populism in the African context. In contrast to rural voters, urban voters are said to increasingly eschew ethnic or clientelist appeals in favor of charismatic political actors, inclusive programmatic policies and anti-elite rhetoric (Resnick 2014). Despite this, we know relatively little about specifically what it is about populist messaging and appeals urban voters may respond to (Collord, Goodfellow and Abedi Asante 2021). This motivates this paper to examine both (i) the varieties of populist strategies and messaging that parties and political entrepreneurs may use; and (ii) what elements of such populist strategies and appeals different voters may actually respond to. We do so by utilising an online experimental survey methodology of approximately 1000 respondents in Kampala, Uganda using a conjoint vignette based design. We develop and test a series of hypotheses to determine how voting intention and support for political candidates is related to: (i) voter characteristics; (ii) the identity characteristics of the candidate; and (iii) nature of populist political appeals and messaging. Results will be interpreted in light of relevant literature on urban populism in Africa and how urbanisation is shifting the nature of politics, mobilization and citizenship in African cities.

Panel Poli24
Trials and transformations: the futures of citizenship in Africa
  Session 1 Saturday 3 June, 2023, -