Why do People Choose to be Silent? Simulating Electoral Behaviour
Title: Why do People Choose to be Silent? Simulating Electoral Behaviour
Publisher: European University Institute
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2008/26
This paper investigates opinion contagion in collective behaviour, using an extension of Granovetter’s (1978) and Krassa’s (1988) threshold models. The theoretical background is the spiral of silence concept developed by Noelle-Neumann (1974), arguing that people only assert their opinions if they perceive a minimal support from a relevant proportion of others. We apply the model to explain the wrong electoral forecasts of the Polish parliamentary and presidential elections in 2005. It is shown that the minority opinions were more widely-held than was declared in opinion polls as a consequence of different distributions of the threshold values of opinion assertion.
Subject: Spiral of silence; threshold model; electoral forecasts; opinion assertion
Type of Access: openAccess