Jan Eric Blumenstiel, Thomas Plischke
Changing motivations, time of the voting decision, and short-term volatility - The dynamics of voter heterogeneity

Electoral Studies, 2015: 37, pp. 28-40
ISSN: 0261-3794

The notion of “voter heterogeneity” – that different voters decide according to different sets of choice criteria – has become widely accepted. But while in a given election some voters are candidate-oriented and others are issue-oriented, little is known about the temporal dimension of heterogeneity: are candidate voters at t1 also candidate voters at t2? We argue that individual voters' motivations can change over time and expect that the extent of inter- as well as intra-individual heterogeneity impacts the process of individual decision-making. Using panel data collected in the run-up to the German Federal Election 2009 we demonstrate that certain choice motivations and intra-individual changes in these motivations lead to later vote decisions and contribute to the explanation of vote switching.