How to Explain Electoral Turnout at the Individual Level Cover Image

Jak vysvětlovat volební účast na individuální úrovni?
How to Explain Electoral Turnout at the Individual Level

Author(s): Lukáš Linek
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: Masarykova univerzita nakladatelství
Keywords: turnout; theories of turnout; political participation

Summary/Abstract: In the last two decades, turnout research has disintegrated into a plethora of studies which focus on partial aspects of turnout. The overall idea of why people vote has been lost. Despite extensive research on turnout, we know relatively little about why people vote. The aim of this text is to present and critically discuss basic theories that explain voter turnout at the individual level. Overall, six theories are presented: the theory of socio-economic status and resources, the theory of civic orientations, the theory of mobilization and involvement in society, the theory of rational choice, the theory of valence politics, and the theory of habitual voting. These theories are discussed mainly from three aspects: (1) the causal mechanisms explaining why people vote; (2) the extent to which each theory links the decision to participate in an election with the decision about which party or candidate to vote for, as well as the sequence of these decisions; and (3) the timing of voters’ decisions to participate in an election. The author argues that because of the heterogeneity of voters and the nature of the decision whether or not to vote, it is necessary to understand individual theories not as competitive, but rather as complementary.

  • Issue Year: XX/2013
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 117-138
  • Page Count: 22
  • Language: Czech