volatile voters erratic, whimsical or seriously picky? A panel study of
waves into the nature of electoral volatility (The Netherlands
Electoral volatility is increasing in most western democracies (Drummond, 2006). The net change in election results has grown since the 1960s and again since the 1990s across Western Europe, except in small countries like Malta and Luxembourg (Mair, 2008). More and more voters shift from one party to another. What does the increase in electoral volatility mean? Is democracy strengthened or undermined by volatile voters?
Tables and Figures:
Figure 1. Net volatility: aggregate shifts in vote-shares.
Figure 2. Net volatility and gross volatility: shifts between 1VOP waves.
Table 1. General regression models of electoral volatility.
Table 2. Logistic regression models of intra-bloc and inter-bloc volatility.
Increased volatility does come with a risk, not for the democratic processes but for the governance of the polity. It has led to an increasingly fragmented party system. Short-term electoral successes will go at the cost of potential coalition partners. It will then be increasingly difficult to form manageable and stable government coalitions. Although electoral volatility currently contributes to the quality of democracy, it might ultimately lead to a shattering of the Dutch party system.