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Keywords:

  • economic voting;
  • insecure employment;
  • employability;
  • salience;
  • vulnerability

Abstract

Voters who perceive the economy to be weak are generally less likely to support the incumbent government. Yet there is a debate over whether all people respond equally to economic shifts or if the state of the economy is more salient for those who feel economically vulnerable. This article examines whether insecure employment situations and employability concerns strengthen responses to the government's economic record. Data from Latin America and Eastern Europe confirm that workers who feel anxious about being fired or who believe it would be difficult to find a new job place significantly greater weight on sociotropic evaluations than do those with more secure employment situations. Thus incumbents who create risks for vulnerable workers are sanctioned, while those who create opportunities are rewarded most.