Sona N. Golder, Ignacio Lago, André Blais, Elisabeth Gidengil, Thomas Gschwend
Multi-Level Electoral Politics. Beyond the Second-Order Election Model

Comparative Politics
224 p.
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-879153-9 (print); 978-0-19-250918-5 (online)

National-level elections receive more attention from scholars and the media than elections at other levels, even though in many European countries the importance of both regional and European levels of government has grown in recent years. The growing importance of multiple electoral arenas suggests that scholars should be cautious about examining single levels in isolation. Taking the multilevel structure of electoral politics seriously requires a re-examination of how the incentives created by electoral institutions affect the behaviour of voters and party elites.
The standard approach to analysing multilevel elections is the second-order election (SOE) model, in which national elections are considered to be first-order elections while other elections are second order. However, this model does not provide micro mechanisms that determine how elections in one arena affect those in another, or explain variations in individual voting behaviour.
The objective of this book is to explain how party and voter behaviour in a given election is affected by the existence of multiple electoral arenas. It provides original qualitative and quantitative data to examine European, national, and subnational elections in France, Germany, and Spain from 2011-2015. The volume examines party mobilization efforts across multiple electoral arenas, as well as decisions by individual voters with respect to turnout, strategic voting, and accountability. This book provides the first systematic analysis of multilevel electoral politics at three different levels across multiple countries.