How do voters in a developed economy react to political violence at the ballot box? Most of the current literature suggests that a social movement turning violent dampens its support. To this end, we examine the effect of violent clashes and indiscriminate state repression on Hong Kong's 2019 municipal election. Using original geocoded data, we proxy violence and repression by the frequency of police shooting tear gas rounds at protesters. Despite the movement turning in part violent, the presence of indiscriminate state repression reduces regime support. We offer evidence that repression de-mobilized pro-regime voters. We discuss possible explanations behind our findings and how the specificity of political violence may matter in shaping public support in protest movements.
Bibliographical noteThe supplementary material for this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2022.50.
- Hong Kong
- political resistance
- political violence