In Progress

Under Review

Moral, Mert. “A Torn Electorate: The Relationship between Elite Polarization, Electoral Polarization, and Electoral Behavior in the US.” (Under review).

  • Earlier versions were presented at the APSA (2016) and MPSA (2021).

– Sedashov, Evgeny, Andrei Zhirnov, and Mert Moral. “Obstacles to Executive Power: Institutional and Policy Constraints on Government Formation.” (Under review).

  • Winner of the Richard I. Hofferbert Best Paper Award (2018).
  • Earlier versions were presented at the MPSA (2018), PolMeth (2018) and ESPA (2020).

Moral, Mert, and Evgeny Sedashov. “The Reversal of Electoral Fortunes: Anti-Elitist Attitudes in the Age of Populism.” (Under review).

  • Winner of the Sakip Sabanci International Research Essay Award (2022).
  • An earlier version was presented at the MPSA (2021).

Moral, Mert. “Measuring the Quantity and Quality of Party Policy Offerings Using Survey Data.” (Under review)

  • Earlier versions were presented at the APSA (2015) and MPSA (2016).

– Çarkoğlu, Ali, and Mert Moral. “Sectarian Voting: The Case of Alevis in Turkey.” (Under review).

Moral, Mert, Emre Toros, Melike Ayşe Kocacık Şenol, and Yasemin Tosun. “Let Them Take a Bus Instead: On the Effects of Intimidation on Turnout and Vote Choice in Turkey.”

  • Earlier versions were presented at the APSA (2021), ESPA (2022) and MPSA (2022).

– Topçu, Şeyma, and Mert Moral. “When Policies Become Irrelevant: The Effect of Polarized Attitudes on Vote Switching.”

  • Earlier versions were presented at the EPSA (2021), ESPA (2022) and MPSA (2022).

In Progress

Moral, Mert, and Andrei Zhirnov. “Ever Considered (Not) Voting for a Party?”
  • Earlier versions were presented at the Euro PolMeth (2022), MPSA (2018) and APSA (2021).
– Best, Robin E. and Mert Moral. “Political Polarization and the Dynamics of Ideological Congruence.”
  • Earlier versions were presented at the APSA (2018) and MPSA (2017).

Moral, Mert. “The Decision to Protest as a Constrained Choice Problem.”

  • Earlier versions were presented at the APSA (2017) and MPSA (2018).

Moral, Mert. “Ideological and Issue Voting in Polarized Societies: The Example of the Turkish Parliamentary Elections in the Last Decade.”

  • An earlier version was presented at the MPSA (2023).

Moral, Mert. “On the Heterogeneous Effects of Election Day Weather on Voter Turnout and Party and Candidate Support.”

  • An earlier version was presented at the MPSA (2023).

Conference Participations

  • Annual Conferences of the Midwest Political Science Association: 2014-9/2021-3.
  • Annual Workshops of the Empirical Studies in Political Analysis: 2016-20, 2022-3.
  • Annual Conference of the Siyasi İlimler Türk Derneği [Turkish Political Science Association]: 2022.
  • Annual Meetings of the Society for Political Methodology Europe: 2021-2.
  • Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association: 2015-8/2021.
  • Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association: 2021.
  • Annual Summer Meetings of the Society for Political Methodology: 2015-6/2018.
  • Annual Convention of the International Studies Association: 2015.
  • Annual Conference of the World Association of Public Opinion Research: 2012.


The Bipolar Voter: On the Effects of Political Polarization on Voter Turnout and Voting Behavior

Michael D. McDonald (Chair), Olga V. ShvetsovaRobin E. Best, and James F. Adams.

Political polarization has considerably increased in most established democracies in the last decades. Such increase corresponds not only to parties and their candidates’ policy and ideological stands diverging from party system centers but also to the mass public’s perceptions of the party and elite polarization and increasingly polarized ideological, policy, and partisan attitudes. This project investigates the attitudinal and behavioral consequences of the interaction between party, elite, and electoral polarization. Coupling cross-national and cross-temporal analyses of established democracies with in-depth case studies on the United States and on Turkey, it seeks to answer how the increasing party and elite polarization interactively affect the mass public’s ideological, policy and partisan attitudes and, relatedly, their turnout and voting behaviors in party systems with varied electoral rules. I argue that political parties strategically take polarized positions to differentiate themselves from their opponents and to mobilize policy-conscious individuals in the short run. In the longer run, party polarization works to change the distributions of policy, ideological, and partisan attitudes of the electorate. Individuals’ higher utilities from voting for parties better representing their polarized ideological, policy, and partisan preferences decreases their abstention due to indifference and due to alienation and increase their support for parties and their candidates that take more polarized stands. These findings run contrary to previous literature suggesting that high and increasing polarization depresses political participation and to the conventional understanding that political parties position themselves in response to the electorate’s policy and ideological preferences.