Local Effects in Local Elections
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|One of the most important factors influencing electoral behaviour is the local context in which voters make their decisions about whether or not they will participate in the elections and what party they will choose. In this paper we analyse local elections in the city of Brno, Czech Republic, by using multilevel regression models and discuss the explanatory potential of indicator on both individual and aggregate levels when it comes to electoral behaviour. Our research focuses on how environment affects political behaviour of individual voters. More precisely, the analyses shows how the individual level factors influencing the intention to vote and party selection in local elections interact with factors widely used in electoral geography as indicators of Rokkan’s and Lipset’s “cleavage” theory (e.g. unemployment, number of entrepreneurs, relation centre-periphery etc.). The set of individual level factors covers political interest, knowledge and efficacy, social class and sense of responsibility. This perspective allows us to eliminate some of the weaknesses of conclusions drawn from aggregate data. The case of Brno is selected because of the availability of data suitable for the purpose of the analysis. Using any national sample, the additional spatial information can be attributed only to very large and internally heterogeneous regions. In this example, the data are based on local surveys in Brno; an exit poll conducted during the local elections in 2014, and a survey conducted in 2015 on a random sample of all inhabitants of the city. The spatial information is therefore linked to relatively small and compact neighbourhoods.