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Voting in old and new democracies

by Richard Gunther

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Voting in Old and New Democracies examines voting behavior and its determinants based on 26 surveys from 18 countries on five continents between 1992 and 2008.  It systematically analyzes the impact on voting choice of factors rooted in the currently dominant approaches to the study of electoral behavior, but adds to this analysis factors introduced or reintroduced into this field by the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP)--socio-political values, and political communication through media, personal discussion, and organizational intermediaries.  It demonstrates empirically that these long-neglected factors have significant political impact in many countries that previous studies have overlooked, while "economic voting" is insignificant in most elections once long-term partisan attitudes are taken into consideration.  Its examination of electoral turnout finds that the strongest predictor is participation by other family members, demonstrating the importance of intermediation. Another chapter surveys cross-national variations in patterns of intermediation, and examines the impact of general social processes (such as socioeconomic and technological modernization), country-specific factors, and individual-level attitudinal factors as determinants of those patterns. Complementing its cross-national comparative analysis is a detailed longitudinal case study of one country over 25 years. Finally, it examines the extent of support for democracy as well as significant cross-national differences in how democracy is understood by citizens. Written in a clear and accessible style, Voting in Old and New Democracies significantly advances our understanding of citizen attitudes and behavior in election settings.… (more)
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Voting in Old and New Democracies examines voting behavior and its determinants based on 26 surveys from 18 countries on five continents between 1992 and 2008.  It systematically analyzes the impact on voting choice of factors rooted in the currently dominant approaches to the study of electoral behavior, but adds to this analysis factors introduced or reintroduced into this field by the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP)--socio-political values, and political communication through media, personal discussion, and organizational intermediaries.  It demonstrates empirically that these long-neglected factors have significant political impact in many countries that previous studies have overlooked, while "economic voting" is insignificant in most elections once long-term partisan attitudes are taken into consideration.  Its examination of electoral turnout finds that the strongest predictor is participation by other family members, demonstrating the importance of intermediation. Another chapter surveys cross-national variations in patterns of intermediation, and examines the impact of general social processes (such as socioeconomic and technological modernization), country-specific factors, and individual-level attitudinal factors as determinants of those patterns. Complementing its cross-national comparative analysis is a detailed longitudinal case study of one country over 25 years. Finally, it examines the extent of support for democracy as well as significant cross-national differences in how democracy is understood by citizens. Written in a clear and accessible style, Voting in Old and New Democracies significantly advances our understanding of citizen attitudes and behavior in election settings.

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