Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association edition:106 location:Washington date:2-5 September 2010
While various authors assume that party choice is primarily determined by individual political attitudes and issue voting, other studies have highlighted the impact of structural and network positions. In this paper the impact of social position, networks and context on party choice is tested in a multilevel model of voting choice for a multi-party system, Flanders (Belgium), using the 2009 Social Cohesion Indicators Flanders survey data. Social position is shown to be a robust indicator of party choice for Christian-Democrats, Greens and extreme right partisans. The contribution of network indicators is modest for all parties, except for the extreme right party, where voters are clearly more socially isolated. The analysis demonstrates that voting choice still depends to a large extent on structural features of social position, network and context, qualifying the current domination of actor-centered approaches to the study of voting behavior. These structural determinants proved to be important not just for traditional parties, but also for more recent parties like the Greens or the extreme right.