The Stability of Voters’ Political Party Support Across the Adult Lifespan:  Longitudinal Analyses in a Multiparty System

Satherley, N. (University of Auckland), Osborne, D. (University of Auckland), Sibley, C. G., (University of Auckland)

Despite the prevalence of research on partisan behaviours, the stability of voters’ political party support in multiparty systems remains an open question. We examined the rank-order stability of party support and political ideology (liberal/left-conservative/right self-placement) over a two-year period and across the adult lifespan (from ages 18–80) in a large national probability sample of New Zealand adults (Ns = 11,901–12,313). The stability of people’s political party support ranged from moderate (.62 for New Zealand First, a minor party) to high (.86 for the National Party, one of two major parties in New Zealand). Ideological self-placement was also highly stable over the lifespan (.79). People’s party support tended to become more stable in older adulthood for each party assessed, but stability of New Zealand First support decreased in older adulthood. These analyses provide insight into the stability of people’s support for major and minor parties in a multiparty system.

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Attitudes and Politics