Pedro Riera (Carlos III) & Joaquín Artés (Complutense), “Rebels with a Cause: How your First National Elections Condition your Whole Electoral Trajectory”

Pedro presented his and Joaquín’s paper on how first election experiences have a lasting impact on people’s attitudes. Here’s the first paragraph:

“Why do European governing parties lose progressively electoral ground until they are forced to leave office? How can we explain the constant switch from left-wing to right- wing governments in established democracies over time? What is the relationship between the emergence of catch-all parties and the development of extremist ideologies among the electorate in recent decades in Western Europe? Although most current explanations of these three phenomena draw on different theories, this paper advances a novel argument that aims to provide an encompassing account of all of them by focusing on the powerful role played by individuals ́ first elections. According to previous research, elections have an impact on political attitudes by fortifying prior partisan affiliations and increasing levels of voters’ political interest. This impact is particularly strong when people are not old enough to have become anchored to particular voting patterns. Within this framework, early electoral choices in life can leave a long-term imprint on people’s voting trajectories.”

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