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Voting in Multi-Level Systems: Motives of Ticket-Splitters in Austria

Federalism
Political Participation
Representation
Electoral Behaviour
Voting Behaviour
Flooh Perlot
University of Graz
Flooh Perlot
University of Graz
Katrin Praprotnik
Danube-University of Krems
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Abstract

Governance in modern European societies is multi-level governance. Citizens vote on their national level and sometimes even both on the European and sub-national level. While we know that multi-level governance hampers political accountability, studies have shown that some citizens do evaluate and ultimately vote differently depending on the political level. This poses the question that we aim to address in this paper: Which factors explain different voting decisions at national and regional elections? In answering this question, we look at the case of Austria. Within the project Austrian Democracy Lab (ADL), we conduct bi-annual mass surveys among the Austrian population. The survey combines online- and telephone-interviews and has a sample of about 4.500 respondents per wave. The fourth wave of our survey was explicitly designed to look at voting-decisions at the regional and national level and this article presents the results of our study. More specifically, we examine three sets of hypotheses in binary logit models: First, we consider retrospective voting decisions and look at citizens’ evaluation of political performance at both levels of government. Second, we expect prospective considerations will be taken into account and look at perceived party position estimates of regional and national parties. Finally, we elaborate on the context, where sub-national elections take place. We hypothesize that federalist arguments may play an important role and arguments of checks-and-balances or power sharing matter. Our results will enrich our understanding of political representation and participation in multi-level settings. We present a nuanced picture of party competition at the regional and national level in Austria and discuss the generalizability of our findings beyond the present case.