How Do Voters Vote When They Have No Ideology? Evidence From Spain

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Working Paper


Publication date

September 1, 2006


Although they make up a considerable share of the electorate, the literature has overlooked the voting behaviour of non-ideological voters. Using Spanish electoral data from the 1979-2004 electoral period, we seek to identify - if ideology is not available - which alternative cues these voters may use when they cast their ballot. We do not find that evaluations of the incumbent's performance have a greater influence on non-ideological voters as the retrospective voting literature suggests. Nor do we find that other shortcuts such as candidate evaluations or party identification are more used by this group when they vote. Instead, our results indicate that non-ideological voters have exchanged the traditional ideological shortcut for the simple pro-incumbent voting as a decision rule.


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