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Project

From One Election to the Next. A Panel Study on the Cognitive, Attitudinal, and Behavioural Effects of Repeated Elections in Belgium.

Electoral research typically deals with changes over time, as we aim to understand how attitudes and behaviors of voters change from one election to the next. A problem for this kind of research is that election cycles typically span four or five years, and it is impossible to control for all intervening variables. In this project, we seize the opportunity offered by the fact that in Belgium five different elections will be held over a half a year period in 2024. By conducting a four-wave panel study, we assess whether repeated elections could lead to a form of democratic fatigue. While taking part in elections generally boosts levels of political trust, it remains to be investigated whether there is an upper limit to this process in the case of rapidly succeeding elections. The concentrated time-frame allows us to investigate whether repeatedly losing elections is associated with a loss of legitimacy of the political system. As in the major region of the country compulsory voting will be abolished for the October 2024 elections, we introduce a ‘before’ and ‘after’ measurement allowing us to investigate in a coherent manner the consequences of an abolishment of compulsory voting. Given the fact that we need to have access to four waves over a limited time frame, and in line with international standards, we rely on a large-scale internet panel to assess the dynamics of the Belgian electorate, over an electoral season with five opportunities to express their preferences.

Date:1 Jan 2024 →  Today
Keywords:elections, voters behavior
Disciplines:Voting behaviour, Public opinion, Belgian politics