German Voters in Times of Crisis: The Impact of Perceptions and Economic Context on Electoral Behavior

Posted: 29 Jun 2016 Last revised: 2 Oct 2017

See all articles by Philipp Trein

Philipp Trein

University of Lausanne, IEPHI

Ruth Beckmann

University of Zurich

Stefanie Walter

University of Zurich - Institute for Political Science

Date Written: June 29, 2016

Abstract

This paper analyzes the connection between economic context, voters’ individual assessment of the economy, and party identification, taking the German national elections of 2009 as an example. Based on the results of multinomial and multilevel regression models, we show that partisanship moderates how the economy affects the vote. In case of increasing unemployment in the constituency, voters are less likely to vote for the social democrats instead of the CDU and the opposition. This effect is particularly strong amongst voters who report that they identify with the social democrats. Regarding the effect of voters’ assessment of the national economy, the results are different. In this case, a better evaluation of the regional economy increases the probability to vote for right parties – notably amongst voters without partisanship. These findings suggest that we should not overestimate the moderating effect of partisanship on the economy’s impact on voting behavior. What is more, this analysis implies that research on economic voting should always account for contextual factors and voters’ personal assessment of the economy together as these measures reveal different dimensions of economic voting.

Keywords: Economic crisis, Political Parties, Germany

Suggested Citation

Trein, Philipp and Beckmann, Ruth and Walter, Stefanie, German Voters in Times of Crisis: The Impact of Perceptions and Economic Context on Electoral Behavior (June 29, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2802022 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2802022

Philipp Trein (Contact Author)

University of Lausanne, IEPHI ( email )

Lausanne, Vaud CH-1015
Switzerland

Ruth Beckmann

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Stefanie Walter

University of Zurich - Institute for Political Science ( email )

Dep. of International Relations
Seilergraben 49
CH-8001 Zurich
Switzerland

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