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Young voters, older candidates and policy preferences: Evidence from two experiments

Lees, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-3517-2211 & Praino, R. (2022). Young voters, older candidates and policy preferences: Evidence from two experiments. International Political Science Review/ Revue internationale de science politique, 45(2), pp. 278-298. doi: 10.1177/01925121221139544


Recent elections around the world have seen young voters come out in large numbers to support young leaders running for office, such as New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern in October 2020. At the same time, however, young voters have shown strong support for relatively old candidates such as Jeremy Corbyn in the United Kingdom and Bernie Sanders in the United States. While the former is consistent with the descriptive representation literature, the latter is not. This article deploys an experimental design involving 1,000 young participants to analyse young voter support towards older candidates. We find that young voters are significantly more likely to support older candidates if they are aware that these candidates champion general left-wing policies, but the same is not true for young candidates. We also find that ceteris paribus younger voters do not prefer younger candidates to older candidates.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2022, the authors.
Publisher Keywords: Young voters; Old candidates; Young candidates; Youth representation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
SWORD Depositor:
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