University of Twente Student Theses


Comparing the influence of socioeconomic factors on participation in national elections and referendums

Drewer, H. (2017) Comparing the influence of socioeconomic factors on participation in national elections and referendums.

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Abstract:The number of referendums is growing in Europe, especially on issues relating to European integration. Therefore it needs to be tested, whether problems occurring in representative elections, as the participatory gap between members of lower and upper social classes, are also translated into direct democratic elections. The question which should be answered in this thesis is: “Does the relationship between socioeconomic status and political participation differ, comparing national elections and referendums ?” To answer this question the level of education and income, chosen as indicators for socioeconomic status, of voters in general elections is compared to the level of education and income of voters in referendums. Therefore two cases were chosen The Netherlands, comparing Dutch national election 2006 and 2012 to the referendums in 2005 and 2016, and Ireland, comparing the Irish national elections 2002 and 2007 to the Irish referendums in 2001 and 2002. The results of the analysis show that the influence of income and education on participation differs between general election and referendums. Both factors have a stronger influence on participation in referendums than in general election. Especially education seems to be a key indicator towards participation. General elections are more reliable, representing the interest of society in its entirety.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:89 political science
Programme:Management Society and Technology BSc (56654)
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