Electoral Volatility, Political Sophistication, Trust and Efficacy


In this article, we investigate voter volatility and analyse the causes and motives of switching vote intentions. We test two main sets of variables linked to volatility in literature; political sophistication and political disaffection. Results show that voters with low levels of political efficacy tend to switch more often, both within a campaign and between elections. In the analysis, we differentiate between campaign volatility and inter-election volatility, and by doing so show that the dynamics of a campaign have a profound impact on volatility. The campaign period is when the lowly sophisticated switch their vote intention. Those with higher levels of interest in politics have switched their intention before the campaign has started. The data for this analysis are from the three wave PartiRep Belgian Election Study (2009).


political sophistication; political trust; political efficacy; campaign volatility; inter-election volatility; timing of vote decision

This content has been updated on 2 October 2016 at 9 h 43 min.