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The Abiding Voter: The Lengthy Horizon of Retrospective Evaluations

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Although the theory of retrospective voting receives wide support in the literature on voting behavior, less agreement exists on voters’ time horizon when assessing the government’s performance – i.e., whether voters are myopic. Previous studies on voter myopia tend to focus on aggregate-level measures of the economy, or use an experimental approach. Using panel data, this paper offers the first investigation into voter myopia that uses individual-level evaluations of government performance in a representative survey at several points during the electoral cycle. Our study focuses on The Netherlands, but we also provide tests of the generalizability and robustness of our findings, and a replication in the U.S. context. The results indicate that voter satisfaction early in the government’s term adds to explaining incumbent voting. Thus, rather than the myopic voter, we find evidence of the abiding voter – steady at her or his post, evaluating government performance over a long length of time.
Journal: European Journal of Political Research
ISSN: 0304-4130
Issue: 3
Volume: 59
Pages: 1 - 23
Publication year:2020