Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
In representative democracies, voting is one of the fundamental acts that allow citizens to express their belonging to a political community and to make decisions about their own future. Analyzing electoral behavior is one of the oldest and most productive domains of research in political science. Research on electoral behavior contributes to our understanding of how democratic systems function and develop over time. It does this by analyzing the answers to the following questions: Whom do people vote for? Why do they do so? What do they want to achieve by doing so? This research has developed over many years using three main approaches: sociological, psychosociological, and rational choice. It should be remembered nonetheless, in France particularly, that the first studies concentrated on electoral geography and were based on analysis of aggregate electoral data at different geographical levels and that this subdiscipline continues to be of great interest. The sociological ...