Age Cohorts and the Funnel of Causality: How Social Characteristics Influence Our Vote
Title: Age Cohorts and the Funnel of Causality: How Social Characteristics Influence Our Vote
Author: KATSANIDOU, Alexia
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2010/32
Voting behaviour criteria can be categorized according to their level of ideologization and their time depth. In modern politics we expect people to use short-term factors to make their final voting decisions, such as valence politics and issue voting. These seem to be more efficient when opposed to long term predictors, such as party identification and left-right ideology. Retrospective and prospective party performance evaluations become the most decisive criteria for voting choices and overshadow ideological and loyalty considerations. However, the population is not homogenous in terms of political socialization experiences. Older generations still perceive party competition in terms of loyalty, while younger generations seem politically disillusioned. Social characteristics influence older voters' stable predispositions in a more consistent and decisive way, while they have a weaker influence on younger generations. In this paper, I compare the impact of social characteristics on the major vote choice criteria, both short and long term. This is done using comparative data from the 2009 European Election Study on the so-called EU 15 countries. The electorate is divided into four cohorts in order to establish variations among generations. The findings show a clear distinction among generations in their vote choice criteria, as a result of their different political socialization experiences.
Subject: Age; vote; European Parliament
Special thanks to Alexander Trechsel, Quinton Mayne, Armen Hakhverdian, Autumn Lockwood Payton, Laurie Anderson for their invaluable comments and insights, without which the paper would not have been completed.
Type of Access: openAccess