Hans Rattinger, Elena Wiegand
Volatility on the Rise? Attitudinal Stability, Attitudinal Change, and Voter Volatility

Pp. 287-307 in: Bernhard Weßels, Hans Rattinger, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck (Eds.): Voters on the Move or on the Run? Information-processing and Vote Choice in a Complex World. 2014. Oxford: Oxford University Press

This chapter describes and examines the German electorate in terms of long-term as well as short-term individual volatility. The results suggest that voters change their minds less frequently during an election campaign than between three subsequent federal elections. The stability and strength of party identification serve—not surprisingly—as massive stabilizing factors of the vote decision, while changed attitudes towards candidates and issues do contribute to the explanation of individual volatility. Furthermore, the findings clarify that most swing voters do not oscillate wildly between all possible parties, indecision, or abstention, but rather have a limited choice set of usually two parties.