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Voter Turnout Decline and Party Responsiveness

Ezrow, Lawrence and Krause, Werner (2022) 'Voter Turnout Decline and Party Responsiveness.' British Journal of Political Science. pp. 1-19. ISSN 0007-1234 (In Press)

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Abstract

Numerous studies conclude that declining turnout is harmful for democracy. However, we uncover the arguably positive effect that political parties become more responsive to the median voter in the election after turnout has decreased. We assume that parties are vote-seeking and show that moderate voters are responsible for changes in turnout, and we argue that declining turnout in an election sends a clear signal to political parties that there is an opportunity to mobilize disaffected voters in the following election by responding to changes in public opinion. We report the results of statistical analyses on data from thirteen democracies from 1977 to 2018 that provide evidence that declining voter turnout in one inter-election period is associated with increasing party responsiveness to public opinion in the following period. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of voter turnout, political representation, and parties’ election strategies.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: elections; political representation; voter turnout; party policy positions; party responsiveness
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2021 15:20
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2022 14:41
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/31579

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