Electoral Chairs’ Seminars – November 9th

Do Citizens Keep Voting (or Abstaining) by Habit? 

Jean-François Daoust – Université de Sherbrooke et André Blais – Université de Montréal

Why do some citizens vote while others abstain in elections? A very popular answer is that citizens vote (or abstain) out of “habit”. They vote or don’t vote because they repeat the behavior of the past. In this research, we offer a critical review of the habit thesis and raise several theoretical issues of the model. Next, we test the habit voting theory with data from the British Election Study (2015, 2017 and 2019) which includes validated (rather than reported) citizen voting. Our results do not support the habit model. These results are consistent with the idea that the repetition of electoral behavior (voting or abstaining) is due to the stability over time of political attitudes such as interest in politics or the fact of viewing voting as a to have to. ​

This content has been updated on 8 November 2022 at 8 h 48 min.