The impact of motivational and contextual factors on turnout in first- and second-order elections

Peter Söderlund, H Wass, A Blais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Based on voter survey from European election study 2009, we examine the impact of one individual-level motivational factor, i.e. interest in politics, and its interactions with institutional and contextual factors such as compulsory voting, electoral competition and the number of parties on participation in 2009 EP elections and previous national elections. The results show that political interest is more closely connected to turnout in second-order elections which are usually considered less salient. Correspondingly, also the contingent effect of compulsory voting and competition is more evident in EP elections. While compulsory voting substantially decreases the turnout gap between the most and least politically attentive voters in both types of elections, the moderating effect of competitiveness is found only in EP elections. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)689–699
Number of pages11
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Compulsory voting
  • Effective number of parties
  • Electoral competition
  • Political interest
  • Second-order elections
  • Turnout

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