ECPR Graduate Student Conference
University of Tartu, Tartu
10 - 13 July 2016

Electoral Politics

Comparative Politics
Party Manifestos
Political Competition
Political Leadership
Political Parties
Political Sociology
Section Number
Section Chair
Martin Schultze
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Section Co-Chair
Sabrina Mayer
University of Duisburg-Essen


Elections and Voters in a Comparative Perspective

Elections can be seen as the most important form of political participation in modern representative democracies. Understanding and explaining voters’ behaviour remains a crucial and complex scientific task where a lot of different approaches and research strategies compete with each other. Recently, there have been a number of innovations and substantial improvements on our understanding of the voters’ decision making process that led to the development of sophisticated models of electoral choice and to methodical advancements in social science research methods. Such approaches have emerged that shed light on the question how social stratification, attitudinal, identitarian, rational, emotional and contextual factors and their relationship with one another affect the citizens’ voting behaviour.

We ask for panels and papers that use any or integrate several of these approaches for a better understanding of voting behaviour at the national or European level. Moreover this section encourages submissions demonstrating methodological advancements in measurement, data collection and/or data analysis in electoral research.

In particular, we are interested in papers that for example, address the impact of class and religion or the relationship between party identification, candidate evaluations and issue orientations on voting behaviour. Furthermore, we welcome proposals analysing the influence of personality, emotions and affective attitudes on the decision making process as well as rational choice approaches that take into account the citizens’ political knowledge and their economic and retrospective evaluations.

Papers addressing contextual factors, such as the electoral and party system, political culture, media system/the interplay of old and new media and the impact of the Internet and social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) are also strongly encouraged. Contributions may deal with these or related topics in a longitudinal and/or comparative perspective.

Methodical papers may highlight advantages and limitations of recent developments in measurement (e.g. multiple measures, measurement error and latent variable models), complex data collection techniques (e.g. rolling cross-section surveys, survey and lab experiments, big data) and/or statistical data analysis (e.g. multilevel analysis, multiple group comparisons, network analysis).

For the section, we propose the following panels:
1) Sociological and Psychological Approaches for Explaining Voting Behaviour
2) Digital Campaigns, Parties, Media and Voting Behaviour
3) Political Knowledge, Party Positions and Issue Voting
4) Methodical Advancements in Electoral Research
5) Contextual Factors in Electoral Research
6) Political Participation of Voters

This Section proposal is officially supported by the ECPR standing group on Public Opinion and Voting Behaviour in a Comparative Perspective (

Biography Martin Schultze:
Martin Schultze is currently researcher and PhD candidate at the division of Political Science II at the Department of Social Sciences of Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf/Germany. Before he started his work as a researcher in Düsseldorf in 2010, Martin Schultze studied social sciences and philosophy at the University of Erfurt (Bachelor degree) and political science at the Philipps-University of Marburg (Master degree). His research interests consist of political behaviour and political attitudes, applied quantitative research methods and political communication. He is a member of the ECPR Standing Group on “Public Opinion and Voting Behaviour in a Comparative Perspective” and the ECPR Research Network on “Voting Advice Applications”. Martin Schultze has published articles about voting behaviour, political communication and effects of Voting Advice Applications in, amongst others, Policy & Internet, International Journal of Internet Science and German Politics. For the 2014 ECPR Graduate Conference he acted as a Chair for the Section Electoral Politics and for the 2015 EPSA General Conference he chaired a Panel about Voters and Parties in the EU.

Biography Sabrina Mayer:
Since 2011, Sabrina Jasmin Mayer is a researcher and PhD candidate at the chair of German Politics/Political Sociology at the Department of Politics at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. She studied political science, computer science, history, and accounting at the Universities of Freiburg i. Br., Glasgow, and Mainz and finished her studies with a joint degree in politics, computer science, and business studies (Master’s degree). Her research interests include political psychology, group behaviour and attitudes, right extremism, and quantitative methods. She is a member of the ECPR standing groups on “Public Opinion and Voting Behaviour in a Comparative Perspective” and “Political Psychology”. Recently, her paper on the measurement of party identification within the social identity approach was published in the Politische Vierteljahresschrift. She already acted as Section Co-Chair for the Section Electoral Politics as well as Panel Chair and Co-Chair at the ECPR Graduate Conference 2014.

Panel List

P17Contextual and Individual Factors in Electoral Research View Panel Details
P53Methods in Electoral Research View Panel Details
P70Political Participation View Panel Details
P86Sociological and Psychological Approaches for Explaining Electoral Behaviour View Panel Details
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