What Drives Electoral Change? Evidence From 104 Inter-Election Panel Surveys in 18 Countries

50 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2021 Last revised: 25 Jan 2022

See all articles by Jonathan Mellon

Jonathan Mellon

West Point - Department of Systems Engineering

Date Written: December 29, 2021

Abstract

Electoral change can happen in just three ways: population replacement, turnout switching or party switching. However, we know relatively little about how common each of these factors are, how they vary across electoral contexts, and how they much each contributes to electoral change. To answer these questions I compile a dataset of 104 inter-election panel surveys covering 18 countries. Across the 104 election pairs, party switching contributes three times as much to aggregate volatility as turnout switching on average, and party switching is the most important factor in 97% of election pairs. These results are robust to using validated measures of turnout. I show that previous research emphasizing the importance of turnout switching focused on the highly atypical case of recent US elections, which does not generalize to most electoral contexts.

Keywords: vote switching, voter volatility, electoral change, mobilization, conversion, turnout, population replacement

Suggested Citation

Mellon, Jonathan, What Drives Electoral Change? Evidence From 104 Inter-Election Panel Surveys in 18 Countries (December 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3957460 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3957460

Jonathan Mellon (Contact Author)

West Point - Department of Systems Engineering ( email )

600 Thayer Rd
West Point, NY 10996
United States

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