Voting Behavior

Upcoming presentation: -

Breaking Up in Hard Times: Mass Party Organizations and Voters’ Defection during the Great Recession

In many European countries, electoral punishment for the Great Recession went beyond governing parties and affected other parties in the political mainstream. As the paper argues, voters’ decision to defect was driven by two individual-level attitudes: economic dissatisfaction and ideological misrepresentation. However, not all parties were equally likely to see their vote share decline. Parties which invested into building mass-party organizations were better prepared to face the crisis. Mass party organizations were able to weaken the effect of electoral punishment, even in the case of governments in charge with crisis management. The paper provides a comprehensive assessment of voters’ defection, based on the difference between their vote in the previous election and their future vote intention, as reported in the last two waves of the European Election Studies (2009, 2014). Mass party organizations are measured by two waves of an expert survey in twenty-five European countries (2008, 2013). The results of a multilevel logistic regression analysis and statistical matching techniques confirm the moderating role of mass party organizations in the defection of economically dissatisfied or ideologically misrepresented groups of voters.