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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Political Involvement and Electoral Competition

  • Author(s): De Sio, Lorenzo
  • et al.

Recent literature highlights how political knowledge and involvement matter for most political attitudes. Political involvement is here proposed as a second "spatial" dimension, orthogonally complementing left-right ideological positions of citizens. In such a space, a logical quantitative model is developed, hypothesizing that more involved citizens cast votes in a heavily structured manner, strongly connected to their overall ideological orientation, while less involved citizens present higher probabilities of voting for a party that apparently contradicts their self-declared ideological orientation. This logical quantitative model is then applied to data from the Italian National Election Studies 2001 survey. Results confirm the hypothesis, and show that the "competitive area", where voting probabilities are similar for both major blocs, is spatially quite narrow for very involved citizens, and significantly "widens" as the level of involvement decreases. Separate analyses are then carried out for different geo-political areas of the country, with interesting results.

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