The Psychology of Voting Behavior essay

1. The sociological approach, developed by Lazarsrfeld P., B. Berelson, J. Godet, W. McPhee, comes from the fact that electoral behavior is determined by the voters belonging to large social groups. Under this approach was investigated the influence of media on the formation of political preferences of voters, and was offered a two-stage model of communication, according to which the impact of mass communication at the individual is mediated by interpersonal communication in small groups. In addition, its contribution to the development of a sociological approach made S. Lipset and S. Rokkan, who studied the historical aspects of the formation of party systems in Western Europe, and suggested a model known as “the structure of the split”. According to this model, the electoral behavior of people is defined by their position in the traditional social differences (between cities and villages, churches and states, the owners and workers). But by the end of the twentieth century was clearly defined a tendency to weaken the relationship between social status, membership of a particular group and electoral choice. The factor of globalization and especially the post-industrial phase of development of society erode the traditional social cleavages in society. (Houghton 2008)

2. The socio-psychological approach, which was suggested in the writings of E.Campbell, W. Miller, D. Stokes and F. Converse, recognizes party identification as the most significant factor in explaining the choice of voters that is formed in the process of socialization. The authors note that socio-psychological approach to the study of voting behavior reveals its limitations with regard to multi-party systems, and systems that are at the stage of formation, where the fragmentation of the electorate is much higher than in the two-party systems with a relatively simple relationship between party preferences and party choice. (Houghton 2008)

3. The approach to the study of the motives of electoral behavior based on rational choice theory was developed by Buchanan, G. Tullock, and E. Downs. This approach assumes that voters are inherently selfish and rational, so they can rationally justify their political choices. E. Downs as part of this approach has developed the concept of market politics, where voters are likened to consumers, political parties and leaders-entrepreneurs: politics tend to be elected to implement their own interests, and voters vote for the politicians to protect their interests. (Ginsberg and Stone, 1996)

4. M. Fiorino developed the theory of “economic voting”. The essence of this theory is that there is a direct link between the situation in the economy and the election results. The electoral behavior of voters is guided only by the quality of life in a particular situation, and this behavior can also be called rational. Nevertheless, it is not clear whether the choice is based on an assessment of the voting electorate’s of their own economic situation (“egocentric voting”), or the results of the national economy as a whole (“socio vote”). (Ginsberg & Stone, 1996)

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