Tuesday Seminar – 20 avril

Voting for Disabled Candidates: The Roles of Voter Preferences and Belief Stereotypes

Stefanie Reher (University of Strathclyde)

Despite important advances in the rights of disabled people over the past decades, stigma and prejudice against them remain widespread. Given ample evidence that voters use group stereotypes when evaluating candidates and casting their votes, we might expect disabled candidates to be penalised at the ballot box. However, voters’ considerations about policy and representation likely matter, too. Disabled candidates tend to be seen as more ideologically left, which might gain them support amongst left-wing voters. These voters likely also hold a preference for the inclusion of under-represented groups. The study analyses voter support for disabled candidates through survey experiments with a conjoint design in Britain and the United States. Overall, being disabled does not reduce candidates’ electoral support. Yet, voter ideology conditions the effect through perceptions of left-right congruence and representation preferences. The findings expand our understanding of the role of disability in politics and yield important insights for disabled candidates and parties who might be worried about discrimination at the ballot box.

Contact Semih Çakır if you would like to participate in the seminar.

This content has been updated on 18 April 2021 at 17 h 48 min.