Clientelistic or programmatic voting in the arab world

By Francesco Cavatorta, Eva Susanne Wegner,
Submitted to Session P4366 (Political Parties in the Arab World: continuity and change, 2016 Annual Meeting
Pol Science
All Middle East;
This paper investigates the nature of party-voter linkages in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) with data from recent surveys by the Arab Barometer, Afro Barometer, and World Values Survey. It analyses the extent of programmatic voting in the MENA by examining the degree of ideological congruence between parties and voters, parties' support bases, and bribe offers in elections. Focusing on Islamist and left-secular voters in seven MENA countries, it finds that programmatic voting exists but is most prominent for Islamist voters and displays peculiar characteristics. Ideological congruence is tilted towards identity issues whereas there are virtually no differences across voters regarding economic issues. There is also no evidence of class based party support with Islamist and left-secular parties sharing a similar support base of middle class voters. Only Islamist voters are less likely to be offered bribes in elections. Key results are robust across surveys.