University of Twente Student Theses


Explanations for lower turnout among young voters : Bachelor Thesis Project on the European Parliament Elections 2009

Benda, Judith (2009) Explanations for lower turnout among young voters : Bachelor Thesis Project on the European Parliament Elections 2009.

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Abstract:This Bachelor thesis was part of a broader project on the European Parliament elections 2009. Central in this project was a survey that was carried out around the EP elections. Due to practicalities, the focus lies only on one country, namely Germany. The main question of the thesis is Why is turnout lower among young voters (18-24 years) compared to the rest of the population? Thus, it is about differences between age groups in electoral participation. Individual characteristics, especially psychological explanations for lower youth voter turnout, hence the micro-level, is the main focus of attention. The research was conducted in two steps: a theoretical part looking at the existing research on electoral participation and a statistical analysis of survey data. Based on the theoretical part, a model has been developed which is tested during the empirical analysis. It includes six hypotheses, involving the following factors: political interest, internal political efficacy, sense of civic duty, other forms of political participation, party identification and external political efficacy. In a first step, the relationship between age and the six factors is explored, followed by the examination of the relation between the six factors and electoral participation. During the last phase the relationship between age and electoral participation when controlled for the several factors is tested. Especially the expectations relating to the first step in the analysis, could not be confirmed. Only the hypothesis regarding lower political interest among young people was approved. However, the link between the several factors and electoral participation has been almost perfectly approved, except other forms of political participation. In regard to the mediation effect, it can be stated that partial mediation is dominant, meaning that the relationship between age and electoral participation is partly mediated through the factors mentioned. Moreover, the study showed that there is not much European about the explanation of electoral participation and that the sources of low turnout are complex. Further research on determinants of low youth voter turnout and subsequent studies are reasonable.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:89 political science
Programme:European Studies BSc (56627)
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