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The electoral benefits of environmental position-taking: Floods and electoral outcomes in England 2010-2019

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Early online date22 Mar 2022
Accepted/In press21 Oct 2021
E-pub ahead of print22 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. European Journal of Political Research published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Consortium for Political Research


King's Authors


The global increase in extreme weather events in recent years has spurred political scientists to examine the potential political effects of such phenomena. This paper explores effect of flooding on electoral outcomes and offers evidence that the impact of adverse events varies with changes in political context. Using a difference-in-differences identification strategy to analyse three consecutive general elections in the United Kingdom (2015, 2017 and 2019), the paper finds variability in partisan electoral benefit from one election to the next that calls into question the blind retrospection and rally-round-the-leader explanations which are often advanced to account for electoral reactions to natural disasters. Instead, changing party positions on environmental issues appear to account more convincingly for shifts in electoral support in response to flooding. This suggests that parties can derive benefit from, or be punished for, the positions they take on environmental issues when extreme weather events affect citizens.

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