Elections and Voters

First edition

by Cees van der Eijk and Mark Franklin

Review questions for Chapter 4

  • Habitual behavior can help voters to make choices at election time. Apart from habitual support for a political party, what other habitual objects of identification sometimes perform the same function? (p. 89)
  • What two meanings of the word "conservative" are easily confused? (p. 89-90)
  • Why did early political researchers falsely believe that people become more likely to embrace conservative ideas as they age? (p. 89-90)
  • What are the three processes that lead people to ignore information that contradicts cherished beliefs? (p. 90)
  • How does habitual support for a political party color the way in which people receive new information? (p. 90)
  • Why are the best educated, most informed, and most politically interested individuals also those who are least likely to respond to new information by changing their partisanship? (p. 90-91)
  • What groups of voters are most responsive to the arguments made by parties and candidates at election time? Why do politicians not make greater efforts to persuade these more responsive potential voters? (p. 90)
  • Under what circumstances might voters develop an identification with more than just one political party? (p. 94)
  • How is the term "social cleavage" used to describe the links between political parties and social groups? (p. 92-94)
  • What is meant by "cleavage politics" and how does this differ from political differences based on party identification? (p. 92-94)
  • Does cleavage politics still characterize elections in contemporary established democracies? If not, when did it decline? What does the decline mean in terms of understanding election choices? (p. 95-98)
  • What explanation is proposed in this book for the decline in cleavage politics? (p. 97-98)
  • How does the decline of cleavage politics help to explain the "new politics of issue voting" described in this chapter? (p. 98-100)
  • Why do we consider it natural that, following the decline of cleavage politics, new issues would be taken up most strongly by new generations of voters? (p. 99-100)
  • What is the mechanism that allows parties to change their policy positions on some issues while carrying the bulk of their supporters with them? What is the term we use to describe this sort of elite-led behavior? (p. 101-103)
  • What is a 'strategic consideration' in voting behavior? Give three examples. (p. 103-107)
  • In what ways do parties use strategic arguments when campaigning for votes? (p. 106-107)
  • What is liable to happen when strategic voters are freed from the need to take strategic considerations into account? How did Israel's experiment with a directly-elected prime minister illustrate the role of strategic considerations in parliamentary elections? (p. 108-109)
  • What is argued in this book to be the difference between strategic voting and tactical voting? About what proportion of voters for whom tactical considerations are relevant are actually found to vote tactically in practice? (p. 110)
  • In what way do voters take account of candidate characteristics, or 'traits' when choosing how to vote? (p. 113-114)
  • Why are potential prime ministers in parliamentary democracies often better known to voters than potential presidents in the US? (p. 113-114)
  • Why do competitive elections require some voters to be unsure about which party they will support? What will elections look like if all voters are absolutely wedded to supporting just one party? (p. 116-117)