Aging of Registered Voters and Voter Turnout in France: A Study of 17 Voting Rounds between 2002 and 2012
19 Pages Posted: 22 May 2014 Last revised: 21 Sep 2014
Date Written: 2014
Older people should be a central focus of electoral sociology. They are increasingly numerous in aging Western societies. Most importantly, they vote more than the average and are thus over-represented among voters. This is a very important issue because older people are characterized by specific political choices: they are likelier than the average to vote for right-wing candidates. Despite this, there has been no explicit study of this question in France during the last decade. Our research aims to fill this gap. For this, we use large databases covering the period 2002-2012. These databases consist of a representative panel of 40,000 registered voters. Whether or not these individuals voted in any given election can be directly verified on voter lists. We study three presidential elections, three national legislative elections, and various local elections held during the last decade. These databases also include a survey panel of 4,000 voters interviewed four times during the 2002 and 2007 presidential elections. We also use large survey databases for the most recent presidential election in 2012. Analysis of these data allows us to accurately describe the quality of registration, the participation and the electoral choices of the elderly. More importantly, it allows us to model their behaviour and thereby to establish the various factors (wealth, income, religious practice, election issues...) that can explain the particular characteristics of elderly voters.
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