The Dynamics of Losers' Consent: Persistence and Change in 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:

Series: Comparative Politics

 The Dynamics of Losers' Consent: Persistence and Change in the Winner–Loser Gap

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Traces the dynamics of losers’ and winners’ attitudes about the political system along three dimensions—before and after an election, over the course of electoral cycles, and over long periods of time. The results show that winning or losing, once it occurs, has immediate but also lasting effects. New electoral losers (old winners) become less content with the political system. Conversely, new winners (old losers) become significantly more positive about the political system. These effects persist over the course of an electoral cycle and beyond, as losers remain consistently less satisfied than winners between elections. Finally, we show that repeated losing serves to increasingly undermine losers’ attitudes towards the political system—while losing once does not immediately serve to undercut losers’ attitudes towards government, losing twice starts a process that leads to a gradual erosion of support for a system that consistently fails to make them winners.

Keywords: cycles; dynamics; election outcomes; elections; legitimacy; losers; satisfaction with democracy; stability; system support; winners

Chapter.  7723 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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