Political mobilization and its impact on voter turnout: A survey experiment in Iraq

Dai Yamao, Shingo Hamanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article clarifies how political mobilization affects voter turnout in a post-conflict society by analyzing the Iraqi case using survey data. Voter turnout was high in post-war Iraq. However, the voter turnout in the fourth election, held in May 2018, declined by 20 percentage points from the previous one in 2014, mainly because of widespread political distrust due to corruption among political elites and their embezzlement of public funds, neglect of the people, and the breakdown of social services after the intensive operation against the so-called Islamic State (IS). Political mobilization during electoral campaigns usually encourages voters to go to polling stations. Notwithstanding, amid widespread political distrust in a post-conflict society, how does political mobilization affect voters’ behavior in elections? To answer this research question, we conducted a survey experiment during the 2018 electoral campaign to scrutinize the effects of political mobilization on voters in Iraq. Through quantitative analysis of the survey data, we demonstrated that voters are more likely to refrain from visiting polling stations if they are mobilized by political parties during a campaign. Thus, political mobilization discourages voters from participating in elections when there is extensive political distrust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-440
Number of pages20
JournalAsian Journal of Comparative Politics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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