Participation, Representation, Partisanship: Hungarian Election Study - 2018

Funding: MTA TK
Duration: December 1, 2016 - November 30, 2020 (47 months)

How voters consider a candidate and how they test a good representative depends on investigating both of their perspectives under specific electoral rules. By reinventing the study of partisanship, representation, and participation, the project “Participation, Representation, Partisanship: Hungarian Election Study – 2018” aims to capture the change in the electorates and candidates’ behavior in Hungary. There is a strong tradition of quantitative research on voting behavior in the country, with the first mass survey being carried out in 1990. But survey-based electoral research grew sporadic after the 2014 general elections. The immediate effect of the electoral system change on voting behavior remained uncharted, which inspired the researcher Andrea Szabó to start the project.

The project takes a different approach to change in this type of behavior; first, in the context of political campaigns. Andrea Szabó seeks to investigate it through collected panel survey data. Second, change in behavior is analyzed in the long-term. Szabo will compare the newly obtained data with results of previous research. She assumed that not only did citizens’ political behavior change but also candidates and representatives’ have gone through substantial transformations. Departing from the tradition established by the Hungarian Election Study, the project renews research methods used 25 years ago by considering characteristics of the political context of today, making it more meaningful for international audiences. It does so by using both quantitative—the project is based on panel survey—and qualitative methods. Here, the researcher will also conduct focus groups, which will allow her to do a statistical analysis of the survey data.

Beyond clarifying the current political behavior and updating a knowledge vacuum, the project has societal impact. Results, which will be published in high-ranking journals and presented at conferences, will help trace the history of voting characteristics in Hungary. That will offer a glimpse of the impact of strong partisan feelings: they can depreciate political values, something that results in unpredictable sets of policies harmful to both public administration and economy. It will also reveal how much politics represents the Hungarian society, especially in light of the social media revolution, which reconfigured political participation in radical ways.

Principal investigator (PI):

Andrea Szabó  
Senior Research Fellow 
Researcher profile page 

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