Recent research from Canada, Great Britain, and the United States indicates that tur- nout in national elections is declining rapidly among young adults. As a consequence of this trend the age gap in voter turnout between younger and older voters widens. The aim of this paper is to understand whether similar patterns are observed in other Western democracies. Based on national election studies from eight European coun- tries, Canada, and the United States, turnout patterns of younger and older citizens are traced and compared over the past decades. In a second step, a first attempt at explai- ning aggregate patterns is made. More specifically, the hypothesis that young people are particularly sensitive to the level of competitiveness between different political par- ties is assessed. In low stake elections, turnout patterns of young citizens are expected to be relatively low. Therefore, declining turnout levels among young adults could be a sign of declining levels of political competitiveness. Nonetheless, multivariate analyses show that different measures of political competitiveness neither directly affect the age gap nor the turnout levels of young voters.
|Translated title of the contribution||The Age Gap in Voter Turnout Between Young Adults and Older Citizens in National Elections: A Comparative Study|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
- National elections
- Age gap
- Electoral Competition
- Comparative research