Res Publica

Article

De opkomstkloof tussen jongvolwassenen en ouderen in nationale verkiezingen

Een vergelijkend onderzoek

Keywords turnout, national elections, age gap, electoral competition, comparative research
Authors Kaat Smets
Author's information

Kaat Smets
Kaat Smets is momenteel als postdoctoral fellow verbonden aan het Centre for the Study of Political Change (CIRCaP) van de Universiteit van Siena, Italië. Zij houdt zich bezig met diverse onderzoeksprojecten gericht op de publieke opinie. Haar onderzoeksinteresse gaat verder uit naar politiek gedrag, politieke socialisatie, politieke communicatie en vergelijkende politicologie en kwantitatieve onderzoekmethoden.
  • Abstract

      Recent research from Canada, Great Britain, and the United States indicates that turnout in national elections is declining rapidly among young adults. As a consequence of this trend, the age gap in voter turnout between younger and older voters widens. The aim of this paper is to understand whether similar patterns are observed in other Western democracies. Based on national election studies from eight European countries, Canada, and the United States, turnout patterns of younger and older citizens are traced and compared over the past decades. In a second step, a first attempt at explaining aggregate patterns is made. More specifically, the hypothesis that young people are particularly sensitive to the level of competitiveness between political parties is assessed. In low stake elections, turnout patterns of young citizens are expected to be relatively low. Therefore, declining turnout levels among young adults could be a sign of declining levels of political competitiveness. Nonetheless, multivariate analyses show that different measures of political competitiveness neither directly affect the age gap nor the turnout levels of young voters.

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