Sharing partisanship, household norms and turnout: Testing a relational theory of electoral participation

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Previous research shows that the household context is a crucial source of influence on turnout. This article sets out a relational theory of voting in which turnout is dependent on the existence of relational selective consumption benefits. The study provides empirical tests of key elements of the proposed model using household survey data from Great Britain. First, building on expressive theories of voting, it examines the extent to which shared partisan identification enhances turnout. Secondly, extending theories of voting as a social norm, it tests whether the civic norms of citizens’ families or households affect turnout over and above the social norms of the individual. In accordance with expectations of expressive theories of voting, it finds that having a shared party identification with other members of the household increases turnout. It also finds that the civic duty of other household members is important in explaining turnout, even when allowing for respondent’s civic duty.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-823
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
Early online date18 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018