Local context, social networks and neighborhood effects on voter choice

Authored by: Ron Johnston , Charles Pattie

The Routledge Handbook of Elections, Voting Behaviorand Public Opinion

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138890404
eBook ISBN: 9781315712390
Adobe ISBN:


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Most elections, both for the composition of a legislative body (a parliament, say, or a city council) and for a single legislator (such as a president or mayor), are contested across a territory that comprises a number of – if not a myriad – separate places. Overviews of election results often treat that territory as a homogeneous unit – relationships between voter characteristics and choices are assumed to be invariant across all of its constituent places. Much research has shown that this is rarely the case, however, and that there are significant differences between places in voter behavior. Such differences are often grouped together as neighborhood effects, and their cause associated with the flow of information through local social networks.

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