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Violence and Party Preferences: Increased Consistency Under Threat

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

How do political party preferences change when voters are under threat of violence? When fatalities from terrorist attacks, civil war, and ethnic conflict reach unacceptable levels, do voters prefer parties with a hardline foreign policy that will respond with force or dovish parties who will make concessions and negotiate an end to the violence? Using data from the Israeli electorate and the Palestinian electorate I attempt to falsify the hypothesis that voters run toward hardline parties under conditions of violence. I also find some evidence to suggest that voter preferences become more consistent at higher levels of violence. I use regression analysis and graphs to explore Palestinian public opinion data collected by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Analysis and Israeli public opinion data collected by a number of polling companies. I compare changes in party preferences to changes in levels of violence, using Palestinian and Israeli fatality data from B’tselem, and counts of rocket and mortar launchings from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center.

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