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The Chicken and Egg Question: Satisfaction with Democracy and Voter Turnout

  • Filip Kostelka (a1) and André Blais (a1)
Abstract

Political scientists, analysts and journalists alike have long believed that the degree of satisfaction with the functioning of democracy determines voter turnout. We use survey data from 24 panel studies to demonstrate that this causal relationship is actually reversed: voter turnout affects satisfaction with democracy. We also show that this reversed relationship is conditioned by election type, electoral system, and election outcomes. These findings are important because: (1) They question conventional wisdom and a large body of scientific literature; (2) They invite a more nuanced approach towards the study of the relationship between evaluations of regime performance and political participation; and (3) They emphasize the vital role of elections in shaping citizens’ perception of the democratic process.

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References
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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