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Voting Behaviors

  • By: Charles Pattie & Ron Johnston
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

Voting is a key feature of citizenship in modern democracies and a vehicle for the exercise of consumer choice in political behavior. Parties present a range of policies, and voters choose from those options. Rhetorically, the voter-consumer is sovereign in the political marketplace because he or she decides who will be elected. However, electoral choice is an imperfect form of consumer sovereignty. In conventional models of consumer choice, demand for a product can be conceptualized as the aggregate choices of individuals: the more people there are who consume an item, the greater the demand is for it. Political voting might be thought of in the same way: the more individuals who opt for party x, the greater the demand is for that party to ...

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