Measuring relative electoral support among candidates of different ethnic origins

  • 10 Oct 2017

    17:00-18:00, Clay Room, Nuffield College

  • Political Science Seminars   Add to Calendar
Speaker: Professor Michael Thrasher

This event is part of the Political Science Seminar Series.

Local election results in Britain show differences in electoral support for candidates after controlling for ethnic origin.  Name classification software identifies three ethnic-origin categories among candidates: British, other European and non-European.  Between 1973-2012, a total of more than 400,000 candidate names are examined in contrasting types of election.  Although ‘first past the post’ voting is used throughout some local authorities use multi-member electoral districts (normally two or three seats) to select councillors while others employ single-member districts.  In the multi-member cases, after comparing within-party slates and finishing order generally, candidates of British origin perform better, while non-Europeans attract fewer votes. In single-member districts, relative party vote share is adversely affected when British candidates are succeeded by others with European and non-European surnames; the reverse pattern of succession correlates with a boost in votes. In some cases, therefore, electoral outcomes are being determined by parties’ choice of candidates.

The Political Science Seminar Series is convened by Geoff Evans, Elias Dinas and Sergi Pardos Prado. For more information on this or any of the seminars in the series, please contact