|Vol.18 No.2 Nov. 2011|
|Yi-ching Hsiao 蕭怡靖 Chi Huang 黃紀|
Government Performance and Voter Choice in Local Elections: The Case of 2009 Yunlin County and Township Magistrates Elections
Free and fair election is the core of democracy. Regular election in turn is the most important vehicle for the electorate to hold the ruling party and government accountable. This paper, based on theoretical arguments, elaborates the effects of government performance at different levels of elections. We argue that the higher the level of elections, the higher the level of government is held accountable by the electorate, while at the bottom local level elections, only the local government performance matters. In the county magistrate’s election, the central government’s performance should play a more important role on voter choice. By contrast, in the township magistrate’s election, the local government’s performance should have greater effects on voter choice. We test this proposition with the case of Yunlin in the 2009 county and township magistrates’ elections with the survey data collected by the Taiwan’s Election and Democratization Study (TEDS) project. We find that indeed voter choice in county magistrate’s election is significantly affected by both central and county government’s performance. However, neither central nor local government performance has significant effect on voter choice in township magistrates’ election. This finding may reflect the fact that bottom-level local elections relies more on social networks and local factions than on government policy evaluation.
Keywords: government performance, vote choice, local elections