Elections and Voters

First edition

by Cees van der Eijk and Mark Franklin

Review questions for Chapter 7

  • What sorts of people are most likely to be responsible for durable electoral change? What other factors than citizen characteristics can also be responsible for durable electoral change? (p. 179-180)
  • What developments contributed to declining levels of partisanship in the 1970s? (p. 179-182)
  • What do the terms dealignment and realignment refer to? Is dealignment a necessary condition for realignment to occur? (p. 183-187)
  • Explain how age effects, period effects, and cohort effects can contribute to electoral realignments. Which of these effects has been found to be the most important during the past century in the countries that are now established democracies? (p. 182-193)
  • Why are so-called ‘immunized’ voters not immune from temporarily switching support between parties? Why and in what circumstances is the ‘immunization’ analogy nevertheless useful? (p. 179, 187-188, also Chapter 2)
  • What is the expected immediate effect on voter turnout of extending the franchise to a previously excluded group. and how would we expect turnout to evolve over the next 60 years or so? What is the expected 60 year evolution of turnout after the abolition of compulsory voting? Describe the processes that lead to these expected effects. (p. 190)
  • Why did the so-called ‘magic formula’ in Switzerland result in a cumulative decline in turnout? What is the common factor that links this to the lower turnout customarily found in so-called second-order elections? (p. 193)
  • What is the potential electorate of a political party? Why is a party’s vote share in an actual election usually considerably smaller than this potential? How does this way of thinking of party support help us to understand the concept of a bedrock below which party support is unlikely to fall in the short term? (p. 196-198)
  • Describe the almost mechanical effect that accounts for the observation that, on average, government parties are more likely to lose than to gain votes after a term in office? (p. 197-198)
  • Why is it that the same economic developments will not always have the same effect on electoral support for government parties? (p. 198-199)
  • Why will the positive effect of ‘good’ economic news on government parties’ electoral support not in general have the same magnitude the negative effect of ‘bad’ news? (p. 198)
  • Why is it that the small effects of economic developments on party preferences can nevertheless have large consequences for parties’ vote shares? (p. 206)
  • In what sorts of countries are retrospective considerations more important than prospective ones in generating party preferences? Explain the logic behind this finding. (p. 207-208)
  • Why, in formerly communist countries, do left-right proximities play a lesser role in explaining party preferences than in established democracies? (p. 210)