We investigate the path-dependent effects of subnational variation in authoritarian state-building policies on voter–party linkages after regime change. We argue that long-term patterns of regional favoritism and marginalization produce patterned regional heterogeneity in the attitudes and preferences linking voters with parties. Postcolonial state-building policies create “winners” and “losers” from particular interventions, in turn shaping local citizens’ preferences over these policy areas and forming axes of contestation ready to be activated by democratic politics. We argue that attitudes associated with regionally consistent state-building policies should function uniformly as determinants of vote choice across regions, while attitudes associated with regionally divergent state-building policies should experience patterned regional variation in their effect on vote choice. We develop these arguments empirically with historical analysis of Tunisian state-building and an original exit survey of voters in five diverse regions conducted on the day of Tunisia’s first democratic legislative elections in 2014. Our findings contribute to a growing literature on the importance of analyzing political transformation at the subnational level.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Middle East
- survey methods