This paper has been conditionally accepted by Electoral Studies.
It is collaborated with Stan Wong at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Do anti-regime protests in electoral autocracies benefit the opposition by shifting the political preference of bystanders? We seek an answer to this question by examining the electoral impact of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement. Analyzing election outcomes at the polling-station level shortly after the movement, we find that protest exposure, as measured by spatial proximity to protest sites, is positively correlated with the decline of electoral support for the opposition. Individual-level surveys indicate that the adverse influences of protest exposure manifest themselves in elevating bystanding citizens’ sense of economic insecurity, even though the movement causes no persistent income loss, while enhancing political efficacy.