The main task of authoritarian elections is to guarantee the survival of the regime. Achieving this goal, authoritarian rulers rely on authoritarian electoral mobilization that is employed by political machines, targeted mostly on poor and dependent voters. At the same time, since electoral autocracies permit opposition parties, those voters, who avoid mobilization, are able to make a choice between the government and the opposition. If they are dissatisfied by their personal or social conditions, they are liable to engage in ‘performance voting’ and give their support to the opposition. In this article, we examine how the two logics of ‘mobilized voting’ and ‘performance voting’ relate to each other. The study is based on a large-N analysis of local level variations in the electoral support of Russia's three systemic opposition parties in 2016 Duma elections, and a unique dataset comprised of electoral and social-economic data, from local (municipal) units.
- Electoral authoritarianism
- mobilized and performance voting