Jan Eric Blumenstiel
Voter Fragmentation and the Differentiation of Vote Functions

Pp. 17-39 in: Bernhard Weßels, Hans Rattinger, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (Eds.): Voters on the Move or on the Run?. 2014. Oxford: Oxford University Press

The assumption that all voters have identical voting calculi had been standard in electoral choice for a long time. However, scholars have increasingly challenged the homogeneity assumption recently. The chapter adds to this discussion by developing a more general empirical and theoretical framework to voter heterogeneity and by addressing the hitherto largely disregarded temporal dynamics of heterogeneity at both the aggregate and the individual level. It is shown that voters’ demographic and attitudinal characteristics as well as their cognitive abilities account for variance in reliance on both long- and short-term considerations. Generally, the attitude-behavior relationship is strongest for the highly sophisticated and lowest for voters holding conflicting beliefs about the parties. At the individual level, voting calculi are shown to be relatively stable over time.