Two parties compete in an election, in which one of the parties holds an initial valence advantage. The parties diverge on a traditional ideological issue, but are also internally divided on a second issue dimension. We study how an office-motivated incumbent may use a referendum on the second issue to improve its electoral prospects. When the parties are not too polarized on traditional issues, a popular party uses a referendum to resolve the second issue, thereby orienting the election away from policy conflicts and towards valence. By contrast, a disadvantaged party uses a referendum to intensify the second issue's salience, and to divide its stronger opponent's base. When, instead, the parties are very polarized on traditional issues, the advantaged party calls a referendum to elevate the issue's salience. The disadvantaged party, instead, uses a referendum to settle the second issue, in order to focus the election on the traditional ideological conflict.
For more information and to receive the Zoom link for this event, please contact Prof. Catherine Hafer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Prof. Congyi Zhou (email@example.com) or visit this website.