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The Paradox of the Politically-Sophisticated Partisan: The French Case

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The erosion of partisan ties observed in many advanced industrialised democracies has been attributed to a cluster of factors associated with societal modernisation. This article considers the impact of one of these explanatory factors, the political sophistication of the electorate, in the case of France. Specifically, it tests the proposition that a more highly-educated and better-informed electorate will be less partisan. Its findings challenge a number of the assumptions behind the 'independent' voter thesis. The evidence points to the fact that it is lower rather than higher cognitive mobilisation that is associated with apartisanship. More politically-sophisticated voters, young and old alike, tend to have stronger party attachment and to rely on this rather than on complex evaluations of issues and policy to guide their voting decision.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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