Parteibindungen und Wahlverhalten in den neuen Bundesländern (German Edition)

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Explore the Home Gift Guide. Not Enabled Word Wise: Not Enabled Screen Reader: Enabled Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Amazon Music Stream millions of songs. Amazon Advertising Find, attract, and engage customers. Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Across all respondents, retention rates are slightly lower than in England and vary between 87 per cent Labour from to , the year of the first elections to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly to 97 per cent the Conservatives to Next, we introduce political interest as an additional variable.

Interest was measured in every wave using a five-point scale. While we could have constructed another latent variable from these four measurements see, e. Instead of trying to purge random measurement error from this variable, we simply use the single measurement from the first wave as a rough indicator for general political interest. This is actually a conservative modelling strategy: Any random noise in the measurement which could be due to higher levels of interest during the campaign will dilute the relationship between political interest on the one hand and partisanship and its stability on the other.

Table 2 about here —. Including political interest in the model involves estimating three additional parameters — one for membership in the mover group, and two for initially identifying with Labour or the Conservatives, respectively.

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Table 3 about here —. However, higher levels of political interest seem to reduce the probability of being a mover. The effects are sizable at about Regarding the effect of political interest on partisanship, the results are less equivocal. Political interest has a statistically significant and substantial positive effects on both identification with the Labour and the Conservative party see Table 3.

They are equivalent to changes in the odds ranging from 19 to 43 per cent. Table 4 about here —. In England, stayers are considerably more likely to identify with one of the two major parties see Table 4 than movers. In Scotland and Wales, however, stayers predominantly identify with none or one of the nationalist parties, whereas more than two thirds of the movers identified with Labour in but may have changed their allegiance further down the line. Table 5 about here —. Taken together, the results imply that overall retention rates are high in some, but not in all circumstances as Table 5 reveals.


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In many ways, the discussion between proponents of the Michigan model that has been updated and revised many times since its first inception in the s and their revisionist critics could be described as a dialogue of the deaf. This is in part because both models will lead to very similar empirical findings under most circumstances.

In this contribution, we have tried to bring some fresh air to this otherwise stale debate by taking a closer look at the role of interest in politics in affecting the prevalence and stability of party attachments. Relying on this perspective, we derived three models with clearly distinguishable predictions: The evidence gleaned from the BES panel survey suggests that in Britain the traditional model is better suited to describe the role of interest in politics in affecting the prevalence and stability of party attachments than its contenders. Our findings thus support the classic notion of party identification Campbell et al.

In particular, they suggest that the affective nature of party identification is conducive to motivated reasoning and thereby lends considerable stability to party attachments. In line with recent findings in political psychology e. In accordance with the latter model, our findings also have implications for the dynamics of party identification at the aggregate level, the so-called macro-partisanship e.

They suggest that the dynamics in the aggregate-level distribution are primarily driven by voters who are not heavily interested in politics. To be sure, this finding on voter heterogeneity does not imply that these dynamics are indicative of some kind of irrationality see on this debate, e. However, it contradicts the notion that it is highly involved voters who cause shifts in macro-partisanship, a notion that would appear to be desirable from a democratic accountability perspective.

Thus our findings can be seen as supportive of the well-known paradox whereby individuals with less than ideal citizenship traits actually seem to make important contributions to the functioning of democratic political systems Berelson et al. As is the case for most empirical studies of political behaviour, this paper is subject to several limitations. The period is probably atypical in that citizens were provided with much information that could make them switch party allegiances.

While this characteristic made a good test case for the hypotheses it also limits the generalizability of our findings, although our additional analysis of the data leads to essentially identical results. Also, we did not take into account the durability of changes in party attachments. With data from multi-wave panel surveys covering longer time periods, future research may also be able to distinguish short-term fluctuations from more permanent changes in party attachments and hence explore whether political interest affects the durability of shifts in party attachments.

Moreover, we have to keep in mind that we simplified our model by treating political interest not as latent variable. Yet, this strategy is likely to have diluted the impact of political interest on the stability of party attachments. Utilizing more sophisticated techniques would probably yield evidence that supports our conclusions even more strongly. So, we are confident that our evidence lends considerable support to the classic notion of party identification in Great Britain. American Political Science Review, 70 2 , pp. A Review of the Cognitive Mobilization Thesis.

Electoral Studies, 28 2 , pp. Partisan Bias in Political Perceptions. Political Behavior, 24 2 , pp. An Exploratory Study with Focus Groups. Electoral Studies, 22 2 , pp. University of Chicago Press. Political Studies, 54 4 , pp. Britain, Canada, and the United States. Political Behavior, 23 1 , pp. Sub-national Variations from the National Model. Party Politics, 11 6 , pp. American Political Science Review, 90, pp. An Analysis of the Presidential Election.


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British Journal of Political Science, 18 Oct 88 , pp. Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey, — Party Politics, 3 1 , pp. Forces Shaping Electoral Choice London: The Evolution of Electoral Choice London: Comparative Political Studies, 14 1 , pp. Public Opinion Quarterly, 73 4 , pp. British Journal of Political Science, 33, Partisan Change in Britain, — Journal of Politics, 46 3 , pp. American Political Science Review, 92 3 , pp. The Dynamics of Party Identification in Britain since Evidence and Implications for Critical Election Theory.

Public Opinion Quarterly, 26 4 , pp. American Political Science Review, 4 , pp. British Journal of Political Science, 7 2 , pp. Journal of Politics, 46 1 , pp. German Politics, 23 , pp. Wattenberg eds Parties without Partisans. Oxford University Press , pp. Journal of Politics, 55 1 , pp. American Journal of Political Science, 21 3 , pp. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 56 , pp. Social Science Quarterly, 85 1 , pp. Electoral Studies, 11 2 , pp.

Electoral Studies, 15 3 , pp. Singh eds Panel Surveys New York: Comparative Politics, 11 2 , pp. Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 27 Special Issue 17 , pp. Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 19 1 , pp.

European Journal of Political Research, 9 3 , pp. Sociological Theory, 3 1 , pp. British Politics, 2 3 , pp. American Political Science Review, 83 4 , Journal of Politics, 74 1 , pp. European Journal of Political Research, 25 3 , pp. Great Britain and the United States Compared. Political Studies, 29 3 , pp. Knowledge and Opinion in the American Electorate. Public Opinion Quarterly, 75 3 , pp. Journal of Politics, 49 4 , pp. A Comment on Lebo and Young. Toward An Investment Theory of Voting. American Political Science Review, 70 3 , pp.

Journal of Politics 72, pp. Public Opinion Quarterly, 46 1 , pp. American Political Science Review, 85 3 , pp. A Question Wording Experiment. Party Politics, 8 2 , pp. Results from Eight Panel Surveys. Comparative Political Studies, 30 4 , pp. American Journal of Political Science, 42 1 , pp. American Journal of Political Science 50, pp. Its Meaning in the Netherlands, in: Farlie eds Party Identification and Beyond.

Representations of Voting and Party Competition London: Table 3 Effects of Political Interest. For the last twenty-five years or so, party identification has been said to be in decline in Germany. And yet, those two parties which are most closely associated with traditional concepts of partisanship, i. This paper tries to shed some light by re-visiting the major stations of the debate before considering new longitudinal data and finally turning to the Bundestag election.

The question whether Michigan-style identifications do exist in West Europe, where politics was shaped along the lines of ideologies and cleavages, was hotly debated in the s see Dalton, Flanagan, and Beck, for a useful summary. However, towards the end of the decade a consensus emerged that the concept could indeed be transplanted to the polities on the old continent including Germany, conditional on an operationalisation that caters for multi-party systems Falter, Yet, the late s may very well have marked the height of partisanship in Germany.

Mutually re-enforcing processes of socio-economic modernisation, secularisation, and value-change began to undermine the cleavage base of the German party system, which in turn facilitated the rise of the Green party in the s. Moreover, according to one very influential account Dalton, , the expansion of higher education and the increase in the availability of political information reduced the heuristic value of party identification as a device that reduces cognitive costs.

The political crises of the s and early s, on the other hand, had very little effect on levels of party identification in Germany: The decline in partisanship was never sudden but rather glacial and concentrated in those social groups whose loyalties have shaped the modern German party system: More recently, Dassonneville, Hooghe, and Vanhoutte have argued that the decline in partisanship has accelerated and is now most prevalent amongst voters with low levels of formal education, which could in the long run lead to an underrepresentation of vulnerable socio-economic groups in the German party system.

While the SOEP provides unrivalled insights into the individual dynamics of partisanship, it also suffers from a number of drawbacks. First and foremost, after three decades in the field, panel mortality is a serious issue. While the SOEP team claims that they can compensate for attrition by recruiting new households, the structure of the data set and the attached weights have become unwieldy to say the least. Second, the research agenda of the SOEP is primarily driven by economists. Its questionnaire contains very items with genuinely political content and therefore lacks the priming context that is provided by ordinary opinion surveys.

Finally, field work for the SOEP is usually drawn out over a lengthy period of time, whereas polling for other surveys that are used to study partisanship is either continuous or focused on campaigns, i. While none of these issues rule out the SOEP as a valuable data source for analysing dealignment in general and issues of attitude stability at the micro level in particular, the SOEP is less than ideally suited for plotting the long-term levels of partisanship in Germany, or its importance in any given election.

Therefore, the next section will rely on the monthly Politbarometer survey series to chart the decline of partisanship, while the penultimate section will make use of the German Longitudinal Election Study GLES to assess the relevance of party identification for voters in the Bundestag election. Forschungsgruppe Wahlen have been tracking German political attitudes with their monthly Politbarometer surveys since the golden age of party identification in the late s. The Politbarometer follows a classic repeated cross-sectional survey design, where each group of interviewees is sampled independently and thought to be representative for the German population in the respective year and month.

Although Forschungsgruppe is a commercial operation, their raw data are made available for secondary analysis after an embargo of two to three years. Previous analyses of these data for the period have shown that in line with theories of secular dealignment, party identification in Western Germany declines fairly slowly and steadily at a rate of less than one percentage point per year Arzheimer, The series is rather noisy with a standard deviation of 5. This is to be expected, as sampling error alone should result in a standard deviation of roughly 1.

Even after applying a moving average smoother using a five-month 2 1 2 window, the series is rather jittery see Figure 1 , with some of the noise probably being the result of campaign effects the diamond-shaped symbols mark the dates of federal elections. However, it also seems clear that the downward trend of the s and s has slowed down considerably in the new millenium, with the average yearly attrition rate falling well below 0. As the micro data are readily available, it is possible to model the decline in partisanship directly without resorting to the aggregated time series see Arzheimer, A simple descriptive model would start with a logistic regression of holding a party id a dichotomous variable on calendar time, controlling for campaign effects.

Logistic regression enforces an S-shaped link between partisanship and its predictors, which given the empirical distribution of party identifications in the sample between 59 and 84 per cent will result in a nearly linear relationship. To accommodate the apparent non-linear decline of partisanship, following Royston and Sauerbrei a number of fractional polynomial transformations of calendar time were included in a bivariate model not shown , with an additional square root transform providing the best fit. Since the purpose of the model is descriptive, only two variables were included to account for changes in the composition of the population that occurred over the year period: Formal education people who were educated beyond Mittlere Reife vs.

Age, or rather the time at which person was born will affect partisanship in two ways. Therefore, older voters should be more likely to identify with a party. On the other hand, dealignment theory suggests that independent of individual age and across the span of their lives, members of younger cohorts are less likely to identify with a party compared to those who were socialised into the largely stable German party system of the s and s.

Life cycle and cohort effects are notoriously difficult to separate Oppenheim Mason et al. Because age is only recorded in a categorised fashion in the Politbarometer surveys anyway, no such attempt was made. Instead, respondents were split into three broad categories under 35, 35 to 60, and over 60 to control for the slow but momentous demographic changes Germany is undergoing.

Finally, the effects of age and education were allowed to vary over time to account for generational replacement and the new relationship between education and partisanship postulated by Dassonneville, Hooghe, and Vanhoutte Although the additional complexity introduced by the interaction terms is a setback, model comparisons not shown based on the Bayesian Information Criterion BIC demonstrate that such a fully interactive model fits the data much better than either a non-interactive variant or a model that regresses partisanship on calendar time and campaign effects alone.

Estimated overall levels of partisanship in West Germany, adjusted predictions at representative values APR. Predictions derived from parameter estimates shown in Table 1. Table 1 shows the results. However, since the substantive meaning of logit coefficients is hard to grasp, particularly in the face of additional non-linearities and interactions, the interpretation will focus on a graphical representation.

Figure 2 shows that the decline of partisanship has slowed down considerably indeed. In theory, anything could have happened in the nine months between the current end of the time series and the election, but the graph makes it abundantly clear that dealignment has effectively halted during the last decade under study. The estimated attrition rate for the five-year period from December to December is a mere 0. Estimated levels of partisanship in West Germany by formal education, adjusted predictions at representative values APR.

Including education, age, and their interaction with time in the model makes it possible to look into group-specific trends in dealignment. Figure 3 shows that partisanship has fallen much more rapidly amongst those with higher formal qualifications, leading to a gap that has become increasingly wider in recent years, as dealignment has essentially petered out amongst those with higher levels of educational attainment.

Yet, dealignment has slowed down for the lower attainment group, too: The change from e. Estimated levels of partisanship in West Germany by age group, adjusted predictions at representative values APR. One intriguing aspect of this pattern is that levels of formal education are negatively correlated with age as a result of the ongoing expansion of education.

Figure 4 offers a more direct look into the age-specific trajectories of dealignment. One first insight is that — at least according to the underlying model — age did not matter much in the late s and early s but quickly became a factor over the course of this decade as younger respondents were increasingly less likely than their older compatriots to report an identification with a party.

Relevant segments of the new cohorts entering the political system either never acquired such an identification or did not retain it at the same rate as their predecessors.

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Given how steep the estimated decline of their partisanship is compared to the other groups, it seems safe to assume that the dealignment of the s and mids that reduced the number of partisans by nearly a quarter must have been driven largely by this group. However, once more the estimated attrition rate in this group began fall appreciably around the turn of the century. Moreover, nearly everyone who belonged to this group in the s had now moved on to the next age band, which exhibits a nearly linear pattern of decline that is currently steeper than that of the youngest group, although levels of partisanship are still noticeably higher.

Finally, the over sixties, who began at roughly the same level as the middle age group, did outstrip them in terms of partisans by the mids. Levels of partisanship have been essentially stable in this group for more than a decade now. Once more one must keep in mind that by the early s, everyone who was in the middle group in the s had moved on to this upper age band.

Demographic changes that the mean age of people belonging to an age group will somewhat fluctuate over time: From the s until the mids, almost every birth cohort was bigger than the one before, but since then, this pattern has been reversed. Yet, even accounting for this effect and for the rising life expectancy, the changes in the impact of age on party identification are too big to be the result of stable life cycle effects. They point either at massive shift in what it means for partisanship to be young, middle-aged, or old, or, equivalently, at substantial cohort effects.

One final aspect that must be considered is the relative size of the three age groups. During the first five years of polling, 29 per cent of all respondents were under 35, while 26 per cent of those interviewed were older than For the period, this balance has been reversed. The share of older citizens has risen to just under 30 per cent, and only 18 per cent of all respondents are younger than Voters aged 35 to 59 currently make up 52 per cent of the sample, but their share is now peaking, while the oldest group is rapidly growing and already stands at 33 per cent in the data.

In essence, this means that dealignment in Germany is slowed down by demographic change, because the combined shares of middle aged and older voters, who are more likely to be partisans, is growing. Either way, party identification has neither collapsed nor withered away in West Germany. Assessing the state and trajectory of party identification in the former East Germany is less straightforward. First, theories of dealignment do not apply because there should not have been any alignment in the first place. After all, Easterners had not been exposed to the West German party system before and, more generally, had had no experience with free elections since the partially free Land elections of Accordingly, the number of self-reported partisans in the East was lower than in the West all through the s, while attachments were weaker and less stable.

Second, the East German subsamples of the Politbarometer poll are often relatively small. Until , East Germans were massively overrepresented in the polls: Essentially, Easterners were sampled separately and in numbers approaching those for West Germany roughly per month and region to account for the idiosyncratic and very fluent nature of public opinion in the post-unification East.

From to , Forschungsgruppe used a single sampling frame, interviewing about respondents per month in total. In , Forschungsgruppe reinstated separate regional subsamples of roughly equal size, but from the early s on, they considerably reduced Eastern sample sizes for most months, boosting it occasionally to cover election campaigns. As a result, the Eastern time series is very noisy even after applying the moving average smoother Figure 5.

Despite these fluctuations, it is clear that the massive decline of self-reported identifications in the early s was a temporary phenomenon. From the mids on, the number of identifiers moved up, although in fits and starts. This pattern is at least compatible with a process of social-political learning, during which East Germans became familiar with the party system and wider liberal-democratic political system. Then, for the last decade or so, levels of partisanship in East Germany have been by and large stable in the to per cent range, roughly five percentage points below West German levels.

Given the relatively small East German sample sizes particularly for younger and highly educated voters , the comparatively short time series, and the absence of any clear trends, I refrain from modelling developments in subgroups.

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At this stage, the more important point to note is that partisanship was clearly still an important at the time of the election. While the group of non-partisans is large, in both regions, more than half of the voters report a party identification, and there is no sign of a sudden and imminent decline. Just because respondents report identifications, they need not necessarily be politically meaningful.

In this section, a simple model of voting in the election is presented in order to assess the political relevance of party identification.


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Modelling electoral choice in multi-party systems is not entirely straightforward. Perhaps the most commonly employed statistical model is the multinomial logit MNL. One problem of the MNL, however, is the large number of parameters which must be estimated, because each possible outcome minus a reference category is given its own set of coefficients: Fortunately, there is another option. The Conditional Logit Model CLM, Alvarez and Nagler, has only a single parameter for the effects of each variable that varies across alternatives within voters.

This includes many variables which are deemed to affect electoral behaviour: The number of cases is for the West and for the East. Standard errors take into account the nesting of choices within electors and the complex survey design, including the weights supplied by the GLES team. Table 2 shows the estimates for the parameters of a very simple conditional logistic model of electoral choice in the election. The model itself is built around the Michigan triad of party identification, candidate evaluations, and issue considerations.

The latter are operationalised in multiple ways. To get a more rounded impression of the impact of policy considerations, preferences on two more specific positional issues that were deemed to be important in the election were included as well: While respondents were asked for their perceptions of party positions on these issues so that alternative-specific measures of distance could be calculated, the number of missing values for these items is quite high.

Including such case-specific variables in a CLM of electoral choice requires one to include a series of party specific constants and interaction terms Long and Freese, , p. To account for any differences between East and West Germany, parameters were estimated separately for both regions. To see why this is the case, consider a voter who is both in favour of raising welfare spending 0 and facilitating immigration 0.

For these persons, all interaction terms drop out of the equation so that the constant reflects the odds of voting for the respective party vs. In the West, the odds seem to favour the Left e0. Even for Eastern voters who hold a more centrist position 5 on the immigration scale, the Left will be slightly more attractive, ceteris paribus, whereas in the West, the balance is tilting towards the SPD. While these differences are certainly interesting, the main concern of this section is the role of party identification.

From the first line of Table 2 , it can be gleaned that in both regions, identifying with a party has a very strong effect on the odds of actually voting for this party even after controlling for specific issue positions, general ideological distance, and candidate evaluations. The latter two do certainly matter, too. Because of the range of the underlying scales and , respectively , their potential effect is even bigger than that of party identification. But in practice, the perceived ideological distances between voters and parties are relatively small, with a median of 2 points and a mean of 2.

Candidate evaluations display more variation with a mean of 6. Yet, one should bear in mind that for candidate evaluations and ideological distances , only the differential is relevant, because all candidates will appeal to some degree. If a voter likes or dislikes all candidates in equal measure, their joint effect on her voting behaviour is nil. For the average voter, the standard deviation of candidate evaluations is just 1. Having a party identification, on the other hand, will be definition benefit only a single party, to whom the maximal potential effect will apply.

One intuitive though potentially problematic, see Long and Freese, , p.

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In both areas, about 85 per cent of voters are classified correctly. Accordingly, the match between party identification and model-derived predictions is almost perfect 98 per cent for identifiers. This shows that at least in this election, candidate evaluations and policy concerns were rarely able to offset the effect of longstanding loyalties amongst those who have an identification and turned out to vote.

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