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Description: When do populist leaders survive economic crises? We theorize that populist incumbents who suffer major economic shocks may pursue two strategies when appealing to voters. First, incumbents can double down on economic issues by touting their own economic achievements and arguing that the opposition would be even worse for the economy. Second, incumbents can shift the agenda to non-material voting issues by arguing that voters will lose social status if the opposition wins. We will test the relative effectiveness of these two strategies for appealing to voters using a randomized control trial in which voters are exposed to incumbent strategic communications that prime voters to consider either economic or status anxieties. We will conduct this survey experiment in Turkey, which experienced a major economic crisis prior to the 2023 presidential elections.


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