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Political Trust and Voting Behaviour

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Leonie Maria Tanczer

on 8 March 2013

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Transcript of Political Trust and Voting Behaviour

Does political trust play a role in voting decisions? Module 7055 – 6th March 2013 Understanding Political Behaviour Do you trust politicians?
“In short, people who trust others are all-round good citizens, and those more engaged in community life are both more trusting and more trustworthy.” (Putnam, 2000)
Targeted towards people in general

“It reflects evaluations of whether or not political authorities and institutions are performing in accordance with the normative expectations held by the public.” (Miller & Listhaug, 1990)
Targeted towards a social category (e.g., government) Social vs. Political Trust “[T]he observed association between citizens’ confidence in government and trust in their fellow citizens is largely a product of the influence of the former on the latter. In other words, whether citizens trust each other is strongly influenced by whether they have confidence in the government that they share.” (Brehm & Rahn 1997)

Minimal Consensus (Levi & Stoker, 2000):
Trust is relational
Trust is seldom unconditional
Trust is a judgement which is generally dichotomous Social & Political Trust „I think all politicians lie.“
(Eurobarometer 77) Voting and Not Voting (Evans, 2004)


Voting-Dimension:
Vote correctly vs. Vote incorrectly (e.g., spoiled ballot paper)
Vote strategically (Kedar, 2012; McKee & Hood, 2012)
Vote out of protest (Billiet Pauwels, 2010)
Electoral and Political System (Marien, 2011) “You are voting for the best of the worse.” Personal values (Schwartz, Caprara, & Vecchione, 2010)
Party affiliation (Bartels, 2000)
Contextual priming (Berger, Meredith, & Wheeler, 2008)
Outward appearance (Todorov, Mandisodza, Goren, & Hall, 2005)
Family & Peers (Kuhn, 2004)
…. Voting decisions are influenced by… limited support in empirical research (Bovens Newton, 2007)

Nevertheless…
Levi & Stoker (2000):
Trust encourages participation
Distrust encourages participation

Ulbig (2005):
Just certain components of political trust relate to participation
Does political trust play a role in voting decisions? 3-staged study during US presidential elections 2008 (Obama vs. McCain)

praising an opponent after the opponent has recently levelled a strong attack – absent of counterattack is a positive surprise

Results apply across party lines

Had an indirect effect on vote consideration through trustworthiness „I judge them more on their actions.“
Acting contrary to self-interest enhances trustworthiness
(Combs & Keller, 2010) Could politicians restore their image behaving like that? „All politicians.“ –
Why is there nor trust in politicians / political sphere?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3G0HCb2jxU Hardin (1998)
Basis for trust and confidence is grounded in past experiences, reputational factors and regularity

Schoon & Cheng (2011)
Longitudinal study

family background / general cognitive ability / school motivation at early age / educational and occupational attainment in adulthood /political trust

political trust is shaped by both early and later experiences

the more socio-economic, educational, and motivational resources = the higher levels of political trust

that political trust appears to reduce with age „Sure, there are guys who want to make a difference, but...“ Reason why most researchers assume, that political trust has a role on voting decision:
besides the decline in political trust, populist parties have gained electoral appeal since the 1980s, which seems to suggest a causal relation between both phenomena

there is the decrease in voting turnout parallel to the decrease in political trust (Hooghe, Marien, & Pauwels, 2011)  citizen assume that their vote will just not make any difference So once again: Does Political Trust influence voting decisions? young people abstain largely from voting (Dermody, Hanmer-Lloyd, Kimberlee, 2002)

voting out of protest by voting for populist or extremist parties (Lubbers & Scheepers, 2002)

Link between both aspects in the voting decisions of adolescents (Kuhn, 2004) Where do distrusting voters turn? Distrust is mutual
Politicians Politicians
Politicians Public

Distrust generates institutional arrangements that permit policy makers to protect themselves and the governments from bureaucratic manipulation (Moe, 1990) “The more suspicious we are, the more we are going to perpetuate that type of behaviour in our politicians.” miss out the composition of the elected legislative bodies

also: ethnic minority groups

women are more likely then men to participate in voting (Schoon & Cheng, 2011)

Ulbig (2007):
female representation has slightly positive effects on women’s political trust & much stronger negative effects on men’s feelings of trust

those with low or high political awareness appear to be unaffected by the presence of more women in office

45% females are on a municipality’s governing board it maximizes political trust Gender-Perspective on Political Trust Yes, it can be concluded that political trust plays a role in voting decisions

Political Trust build up over years and is rooted in past experiences and various socio-economical factors and social categories

decline of political trust could pose a threat to the stability of the party systems in contemporary democracies:
- favour candidates who challenge existing political norms (by voting for an anti-system party)
- abstain from voting What does that all mean? The dilemma of a decrease in political trust and the luck for devious snakes… Bartels, L. M. (2000). Partisanship and voting behavior, 1952-1996. American Journal of Political Science, 44(1), 35-50.
Berger, J., Meredith, M., & Wheeler, S. C. (2008). Contextual priming: Where people vote affects how they vote. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(26), 8846-8849.
Billiet, J., & Witte, H. (2006). Attitudinal dispositions to vote for a ‘new’extreme right‐wing party: The case of ‘Vlaams blok’. European Journal of Political Research, 27(2), 181-202.
Bovens, M., & Wille, A. (2008). Deciphering the dutch drop: Ten explanations for decreasing political trust in the netherlands. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 74(2), 283-305.
Combs, D. J., & Keller, P. S. (2010). Politicians and trustworthiness: Acting contrary to self-interest enhances trustworthiness. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 32(4), 328-339.
Dermody, J., Hanmer-Lloyd, S., & Scullion, R. (2010). Young people and voting behaviour: Alienated youth and (or) an interested and critical citizenry? European Journal of Marketing, 44(3/4), 421-435.
Evans, J. (2004). Voters & voting. London; Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage. Retrieved from http:// site.ebrary.com/lib/queensbelfast/Doc?id=10076703
Grönlund, K., & Setälä, M. (2007). Political trust, satisfaction and voter turnout. Comparative European Politics, 5(4), 400-422.
Hardin, R. (1998). Trust in government. In V. A. Braithwaite, & M. Levi (Eds.), Trust and governance (pp. 9-27). New York: Russell Sage Foundation Publications.
Hooghe, M., Marien, S., & Pauwels, T. (2011). Where do distrusting voters turn if there is no viable exit or voice option? the impact of political trust on electoral behaviour in the belgian regional elections of june 2009. Government and Opposition, 46(2), 245-273. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-7053.2010.01338.x
Kedar, O. (2012). Voter choice and parliamentary politics: An emerging research agenda. British Journal of Political Science, 42(3), 537-553.
Kimberlee, R. H. (2002). Why don't british young people vote at general elections? Journal of Youth Studies, 5(1), 85-98. doi: 10.1080/1367626012011178 8
Kuhn, H. P. (2004). Adolescent voting for right-wing extremist parties and readiness to use violence in political action: Parent and peer contexts. Journal of Adolescence, 27(5), 561-581.
Levi, M., & Stoker, L. (2000). Political trust and trustworthiness. Annual Review of Political Science, 3(1), 475-507. Bibliography

Lubbers, M., & Scheepers, P. (2002). French front national voting: A micro and macro perspective. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 25(1), 120-149.
Marien, S. (2011). The effect of electoral outcomes on political trust: A multi–level analysis of 23 countries. Electoral Studies, 30(4), 712-726.
McKee, S. C., & Hood III, M. V. (2012). Strategic voting in a U.S. senate election. Political Behavior, , 1-23.
Miller, A. H., & Listhaug, O. (1990). Political parties and confidence in government: A comparison of norway, sweden and the united states. British Journal of Political Science, 20(03), 357-386. doi: 10.1017/S0007123400005883
Moe, T. M. (1990). The politics of structural choice: Toward a theory of public bureaucracy. In O. Williamson (Ed.), From chester barnard to the present and beyond (pp. 116-153). New York: Oxford University Press.
Newton, K. (2007). Social and political trust in established democracies. In R. Dalton, & H. Klingemann (Eds.), Oxford handbook of political behaviour (pp. 342-361). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pantoja, A. D., & Segura, G. M. (2003). Does ethnicity matter? descriptive representation in legislatures and political alienation among latinos*. Social Science Quarterly, 84(2), 441-460.
Pauwels, T. (2010). Explaining the success of neo‐liberal populist parties: The case of lijst dedecker in belgium. Political Studies, 58(5), 1009-1029.
Pharr, S. (1997). Why people don't trust government. In J. S. Nye, P. Zelikow & D. C. King (Eds.), Why people don't trust government (pp. 237-252). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone :The collapse and revival of american community. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Schoon, I., & Cheng, H. (2011). Determinants of political trust: A lifetime learning model. Developmental Psychology, 47(3), 619-631. doi: 10.1037/a0021817
Schwartz, S. H., Caprara, G. V., & Vecchione, M. (2010). Basic personal values, core political values, and voting: A longitudinal analysis. Political Psychology, 31(3), 421-452. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00764.x
Todorov, A., Mandisodza, A. N., Goren, A., & Hall, C. C. (2005). Inferences of competence from faces predict election outcomes. Science, 308(5728), 1623-1626.
Ulbig, S. G. (2005). Political realities and political trust: Descriptive representation in municipal government. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA. 1-24.
Ulbig, S. G. (2002). Policies, procedures, and people: Sources of support for government? Social Science Quarterly (Blackwell Publishing Limited), 83(3), 789-809. doi: 10.1111/1540-6237.00115
Ulbig, S. G. (2007). Gendering municipal government: Female descriptive representation and feelings of political trust*. Social Science Quarterly, 88(5), 1106-1123. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2007.00494.x
Weatherford, M. S. (1992). Measuring political legitimacy. The American Political Science Review, (86), 149-166. “The probability of a person trusting the government greatly increases when that person’s concerns are met.” (Ulbig, 2005) Thank you.
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