What are the electoral consequences of urban riots? We argue that riots highlight the economic and social problems suffered by those who participate, inducing potential electoral allies to mobilize. These allies can then punish local incumbents at the ballot box. We test this hypothesis with fine-grained geographic data that capture how exposure to the 2011 London riots changed vote choices in the subsequent 2012 mayoral election. We find that physical proximity to both riots and the homes of rioters raised turnout and reduced the vote for the incumbent Conservative mayor. These results are partly driven by a change in the turnout and vote choices of white residents. This provides support for the view that riots can help shift votes against incumbents who oppose the implied policy goals of rioters.
|Political Science Research and Methods
|Accepted/In press - 18 Jul 2022