Breaking a habit: The impact of health on turnout and party choice

Lauri Rapeli, Mikko Mattila, Achillefs Papageorgiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Turnout and party choice are widely held to be habitual, but little attention has been paid to factors that disrupt the pattern. Good health is an important determinant of political behaviour and a key component in the quality of life. Based on the developmental theory of turnout, we hypothesize that declining health lowers voting propensity over the life course. We employ issue ownership theory to assume that declining health increases the likelihood of voting for leftist parties. Using the British Household Panel Survey data, we show how deteriorating health significantly lowers the propensity to vote, but if a person in poor health votes, she is more likely to support Labour than the Conservatives. As expected by the developmental theory, major life events, such as declining health, affect voting propensity. Results also support issue ownership theory: declining health increases Labour voting which implies that British voters turn to the party that owns the health issue when the issue becomes salient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
JournalParty Politics
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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