General Conference of the European Political Science Association edition:3 location:Barcelona date:20-22 June 2013
For most part, electoral studies have been concerned by understanding what political party voters support and why. The central focus has been the party choice. Yet, there is also a growing literature that has apprehended the personalized nature of the vote, that look at who candidates are may influence how voters decide to cast their vote (Aarts et al., 2011; Bittner, 2011; Marsh, 2007). But the difficulty is that candidate and party choices are embedded and are therefore difficult to separate (Garzia, 2012). Voters in most elections only cast one vote that expresses at the same time their party and candidate choices. That is true in candidate-centered systems like FPTP, run-off, STV or AV. But also in closed list systems (Riera, 2011) as well as in open (or semi-open) list systems that obliged voters to cast a preference vote for one candidate (like in the Netherlands, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Poland or Finland). In all of these systems, the researcher is left with one single observation, with one single vote to study. And it is the task of the researcher to develop survey design that would allow him/her to disentangle what have been the most important factors in voters’ decision, the party or the candidate.