Understanding voter vengeance

Nada Nasr Bechwati, Maureen Morrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article proposes that, in electoral contexts, decision makers may experience a desire for vengeance or a desire to "get even" with an entity, such as a political candidate, in response to a perceived wrongdoing. This article draws on research from the domains of psychology and sociology to develop a theoretical framework for examining factors that may influence the extent to which voters exact revenge on political candidates with their voting behavior. The results of 3 experiments are reported in which voters are shown to exact revenge on a candidate who has won an earlier round of elections by defeating a favored candidate. This process is mediated by damage to self-identity and is strengthened by perceived share of blame attributed to the perpetrator candidate. This research shows how vengeful voters are delighted when a perpetrator candidate later performs poorly while in office. This research also shows how making salient a shared affiliation with the perpetrator candidate (such as race or university major) can attenuate vengeful voting behavior. The research builds on a growing body of work that explores negative and potentially counterproductive emotions in choice contexts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)277-291
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding voter vengeance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this