- Structural and ideological voting in age cohorts
- West European Politics
- Volume | Issue number
- 33 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In most West European countries the effects of long-term determinants of the vote − in particular social class, religion and left-right ideology − have slowly weakened since the late 1980s. This paper first describes differences between the EU member states in the extent of structural and ideological voting in the period 1989-2004. It then focuses on the causes behind the changes over time. It is hypothesised that the decline is partially caused by generational replacement (H1). More specifically, it is assumed that structural voting is most important for the generation born before 1950, and politically socialised in the years of the mass party (H2) and that ideological voting is most important for the generation born between 1950 and 1970, who were politically socialised after the decline of cleavages and before the fall of the Berlin Wall (H3). To test these hypotheses, the study employs the European Elections Study 1989, 1994, 1999 and 2004. The country by year combination provides data from 62 political contexts. To analyse the determinants of party choice across different countries and years, a methodology is employed that was developed by Van der Eijk and Franklin in Choosing Europe (1996). The study provides support for all three hypotheses.
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