Working Paper
The Impact of Short Term Voting Motives

Scholars of elections and electoral behavior are faced with increasing levels of electoral volatility and a declining explanatory power of the traditional vote choice models. Faced with these trends, the question rises how the younger generations decide what party to vote for. Within the literature, the assumption has been made that the younger age groups rely more on short-term voting motives. After establishing that within the Flemish region of Belgium the younger voters are indeed more volatile, we test the assumption by means of logistic regression analyses of party preferences for the three traditional parties within the
Flemish electoral context (Christian-Democrats, Socialists and Liberals). Results show that for those born since 1970, agreement with the ideas of political parties appears to be more important than for older voters. There are no significant differences with regard to the importance of political leaders, however. As such these results confirm the hypothesis that the younger generations rely more on short-term voting motives while also providing a rather optimistic image of the way in which younger voters’ party preferences are formed.

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