© 2011

Election Promises, Party Behaviour and Voter Perceptions


Part of the Public Sector Organizations book series (PSO)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Elin Naurin
      Pages 3-12
  3. Empirical Investigations of Parties’ Fulfilment of Election Promises

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 27-27
  4. Citizens’ Views on Election Promises

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 67-67
    2. Elin Naurin
      Pages 84-98
  5. Conclusions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 145-145
    2. Elin Naurin
      Pages 147-158
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 159-193

About this book


An exploration of whether politicians are perceived to keep their election promises. While scholars claim that parties act on most of their election promises, citizens hold the opposite view. This 'Pledge Puzzle' guides Naurin in her analysis of the often referred to but not empirically investigated, 'conventional wisdom' about election promises.


democracy election trust voter

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of GothenburgSweden

About the authors

ELIN NAURIN is Research Fellow in the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research and teaching revolves around Representative Democratic Theory and Practice. She is affiliated to the Swedish National Election Study Programme and the Multidisciplinary Opinion and Democracy Research Group. She is also one of the initiators and coordinators of the research group 'Comparative Party Pledge Group'.

Bibliographic information


'This book is a real joy to read, ably tackling a major paradox in Western Democracies. Why is it when parties so often seem to fulfil their written election promises in government, that most electors think they break them? The answer as Naurin convincingly reveals, is that the political class has a different view from electors of what fulfilling election pledges means and even what the pledges are. Something obviously needs to be done about this serious misunderstanding and this book suggests what. A must buy for supporters and analysts of democracy alike.' - Ian Budge, Emeritus Professor, Department of Government, University of Essex, UK

'The empirical findings open the door to fresh perspectives regarding the relationship between representatives and those represented the excellent literature review, compelling arguments and wealth of evidence make this book enjoyable and useful to scholars of party politics and legislative or voting behaviour.' Sergiu Gherghina, Political studies Review

' makes interesting and insightful contributions to the party literature... [The] theoretical and

empirical thoroughness helps to convince the reader that there is indeed an engaging question at the heart of Naurin's research. ' Michael Clark, Perspectives on Politics

'Elin Naurin's book Election Promises, party behavior and voter perceptions (Palgrave Macmillan 2011) shows how research on Swedish politics can enrich our overall understanding of the challenges of representative democracy. Through a multidimensional and smart analysis Naurin develops our theoretical, methodological and empirical knowledge of the importance of election promises to the relationship between voters and political parties. An important part of the book is about how voters perceive election promises. It is shown that the general perception that politicians do not keep their promises play an important role in citizens' assessments. Citizens also take into consideration the outcomes of politics when assessing whether politicians and parties keep their election promises. This means that citizen perspectives are not primarily based on party programs and election material, instead citizens take into account external factors outside the parties' power when making their assessments. The book gives us important perspectives on the factors that challenge the credibility of politicians, parties and representative democracy. It helps journalists, politicians, voters and researchers to understand how the parties and politicians act in the Swedish representative democracy' - Swedish Political Science Association