Res Publica: Tijdschrift voor Politologie vol:58 issue:1 pages:5-36
Dutch-Belgian Political Science Conference edition:14 location:Maastricht date:11-12 June 2015
In this paper we investigate the effect of political sophistication on turnout and whether this effect differs in second-order national elections. Political sophistication is thought to influence turnout since the more sophisticated voters have access to more information about the electoral and the party system. In this paper, we start from the expectation that these effects should be even stronger in the context of second-order national elections, where information about the stakes of the election is not readily available. We analyse citizens’ willingness to turn out to vote at different levels of government in Belgium and the Netherlands. The results show that a higher degree of political sophistication increases the probability to turn out at the national as well as the European level. Our expectation that this effect would be larger at the European level, however, is not supported by these results.