Chapter

Political Legitimacy and the Winner–Loser Gap

Christopher J. Anderson, André Blais, Shaun Bowler, Todd Donovan and Ola Listhaug

in Losers' Consent

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780199276387
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602719 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199276382.003.0002

Series: Comparative Politics

 Political Legitimacy and the Winner–Loser Gap

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Although political scientists have recognized the importance of election outcomes for how people feel about the democratic political process for some time, few have systematically examined the effect of elections and election outcomes on people’s attitudes about government. Examines the underpinnings of what we call the ‘winner–loser gap’ in democratic legitimacy from several perspectives. First, it discusses how social scientists have approached the study of political legitimacy over the years as well as the major findings that have emerged from their efforts. Second, it explains the underlying premises for the winner–loser gap in legitimacy beliefs gleaned from different corners of the social sciences. Finally, we develop a model of losers’ consent that forms the theoretical core of our empirical investigation. This model demonstrates how election outcomes and the sorting of voters into winners and losers affects legitimacy beliefs.

Keywords: comparative politics; democracy; election outcomes; elections; legitimacy; losers; political behaviour; satisfaction with democracy; system support; winner–loser gap

Chapter.  7266 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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