Publication details

Kde sa chodí voliť? Faktory ovplyvňujúce geografické rozloženie volebnej účasti v slovenských parlamentných voľbách

Title in English Where do voters appear at ballots? Factors influencing the geographical distribution of voter turnout in Slovak parliamentary elections


Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Geografický časopis
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords voter turnout; parliamentary elections; geographical variability; theories of voter turnout; regression analysis; Slovakia
Description The main objective of the research was to test the predictive ability of five voter turnout theories in the conditions of Slovak society (the societal modernization theory, the theory of disenchanted voting, the socioeconomic status theory, the mobilization theory and the theory of habitual voting). To test the predictive ability of theories, three hypotheses were formulated and verified using quantitative methods such as multiple regression analysis and additional univariate statistical analyses. The results have shown that all five theories are relevant for explanation of the map of electoral participation in Slovakia. However, the interpretative contribution of individual theories has changed over time. While the theory of disenchanted voting was very relevant for explanation of regional differences in voter turnout in the 1990s and early 2000s, the societal modernization theory and the socioeconomic status theory gained more interpretative power in the 2010s. It was indicated by a significant contribution of independent variables such as the proportion university graduates or the net migration rate to the regression models for turnout. The effect of mobilization theory has been observed in the case of a positive contribution of the variable “the share of Roman Catholics in municipality” to the regression models, which has been steadily rising since 2006. On the contrary, the share of Roma population in municipality has been influencing the electoral turnout in a negative way. It can be interpreted as a sign of resignation on the opportunity to use elections to achieve collective objectives among the Roma community. However, the share of Roma population in municipality can also be a proxy for some other variables, such as the poverty rate, thanks to ecological fallacy of the regression models. The electoral turnout in the Hungarian-speaking municipalities has changed significantly in the last two parliamentary elections, from regions with significantly above-average turnout to regions with below-average turnout. It can be explained, in part, by a split among political parties representing Hungarian minority in Slovakia, following the mobilization theory. Finally, the high turnout in small municipalities and the significantly positive contribution of the share of seniors to regression models have proved the explanatory power of the habitual voting theory in contemporary Slovakia. The process of transition of voter behavior in Slovakia is geographically uneven, as is witnessed by a greater validity of modernization and socioeconomic status theories in the western regions and the theory of habitual voting and mobilization theory in the eastern regions. The explanation of regional and local differences in electoral participation is becoming more similar to models observed in the West European democracies. However, significant differences remain, which is one of the reasons for close observation of the electoral participation map of Slovakia in a future geographical research.
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