Competing for the same value segments? Insight into the volatile Dutch political landscape

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Values are central to public debates today. Human values convey broad goals that serve as guiding principles in a person’s life and value priorities differ across people in society. Groups in society holding opposing values (e.g., universalism versus security) will make different choices when voting in an election. Whereas over time, values are relatively stable, the number and type of political parties as well as the political values they communicate and disseminate have been changing. Groups of people holding the same human values may therefore vote for another (new) party in a later election. We focus on analyzing the relationship between human values and voting in elections, introducing a new methodology to analyze how value profiles relate to political support over time. We investigate the Dutch multi-party political system over five waves of the European Social Survey, spanning 2002 until 2010. Whilst previous research has focused on individual values separately and focused on voters only, we (1) distinguish groups holding a similar set of opposing and compatible values (value profile) instead of focusing on single values in the the entire population; (2) incorporate a correction for differences in scale use in our model; (3) compare voting over time; (4) include non-voters, a growing group in Dutch society. We find evidence that specific value profiles are related to voting for a specific set of political parties. We also find that specific value profiles distinguish non-voters from voters and that voters for populist parties resemble non-voters.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0190598
JournalPLoS One (online)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-01-66-01


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