Thomas Gschwend, Dirk Leuffen
Divided We Stand - Unified We Govern? Cohabitation and Regime Voting in the 2002 French Elections

British Journal of Political Science, 2005: 35, S. 691-712

In this article we analyse the impact of voters’ regime preferences, i.e. their preferences alternatively for divided or unified government, on their voting behaviour. Our theory, combining behavioural as well as institutional approaches, predicts that voters weigh their regime against their partisan preferences to derive their vote choice. We test our theory and its implications on the basis of the 2002 French legislative elections using a multinomial logit set-up. Our results indicate that regime voting adds to the explanatory power of traditional vote choice models. Statistical simulations provide further evidence that regime preferences play a decisive role in the voting booth especially for voters who are not anchored politically.