What Are We Missing? Explaining Immigrant-Origin Voter Turnout with Standard and Immigrant-Specific Theories
Forthcoming in Electoral Studies
32 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2019
Date Written: October 28, 2019
While the explanation of voter turnout is undoubtedly one of the major topics of electoral research, we know relatively little about how to explain the turnout of voters with an immigration background. Two perspectives can be distinguished. The first is that immigrant turnout can be explained by standard theories, i.e. those theories which are also used for native voters. In contrast, the second perspective highlights the role of immigrant-specific factors, such as ethnic networks, social identity patterns and discrimination experiences. In this research note, we test these perspectives against each other, relying on the most recent and high-quality survey data from the 2017 German federal election (the Immigrant German Election Study). In summary, we find that standard approaches can be used fruitfully to explain immigrant voter turnout in the 2017 German federal election, and immigrant-specific variables can add very little to them.
Keywords: immigrants, Bundestag, election, Germany, turnout, voting participation, Turkey, Soviet Union
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