Multiple studies have identified a significant gap between electoral winners’ satisfaction with the functioning of their democracy and electoral losers’ satisfaction. This disparity is attributed to the diverging policies the parties would enact. For this to be true, citizens must perceive true differences among the parties. Using thirty-one post-election surveys from twenty-five countries, this study finds that the win-loss satisfaction gap is conditioned by the perceived differences among the political parties in the democracy. The effect of winning or losing on citizens’ satisfaction is significantly larger when citizens identify greater differences among the parties. This effect is driven by the difference in impact among citizens perceiving major differences among the parties. The differential effect underscores the importance of understanding citizens’ perceptions of the parties in their democracy and contributes to researchers’ knowledge of influences on democratic attitudes at a time when scholars are concerned about democratic decline.
Hannah M. Ridge (2023) Perceived party differences, election outcomes, and satisfaction with democracy, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, https://doi.org/10.1080/17457289.2023.2189259
Taylor & Francis
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