Agatha Kratz, Maria Preißinger, Harald Schoen
Changing crises, changing votes? Problem priorities, party competence, and electoral behavior in Germany 2009–2017

Pp. 209-226 in: Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Harald Schoen, Bernhard Weßels, Christoph Wolf (Eds.): The Changing German Voter. 2022. Oxford: Oxford University Press

In Germany, the occurrence of several successive crises between 2008 and 2017—the economic and financial crisis, the Euro crisis, and the refugee crisis—went hand in hand with high electoral volatility. The chapter examines if these phenomena were related. An event-driven vote model suggests a causal chain connecting crises to vote switching through changes in individual problem priorities and party competence attributions. Using data from panel surveys, it is demonstrated that this chain was actually weaker than the event-driven vote model suggests. Problem priorities and party competence attributions were not purely event-driven but rather endogenous to political predispositions and policy preferences. Moreover, although changes in party competence attributions promoted vote switching, other influential factors limited their impact. In effect, the sequence of the three crises contributed to the high level of electoral volatility only moderately through changes in problem priorities and party competence attributions.