Determinants of the Party Vote
Timothy J. Colton
THE MACROCHOICE embodied in any competitive election sums up a myriad of microchoices made by individual citizens. The microchoices that pose the greatest analytical interest in Russia in 1993 are those concerning the electoral associations, the newly minted parties and near-parties that battled it out over the 50 percent of the State Duma seats allotted by proportional representation. Data from our two-part nationwide survey of the electorate let my colleagues and me delve into the main determinants of the party-list vote through statistical analysis. To frame the discussion, I borrow propositions from the voluminous literature on electoral decisionmaking in other political systems.
In established democracies, it is customary to begin the examination of a general election with an inquiry into the distribution within the population of psychological identification with the parties. Enduring affiliations with political parties, in many countries passed from one generation to the next by childhood socialization, have often been found to be the strongest single predictor of voting decisions. 1
In the protodemocratic setting of Russia's inaugural multiparty election, entrenched partisan identification cannot be seriously entertained as the engine of citizen behavior. The rock-bottom reality is that none of the thirteen parties registered--the oldest dating back to 1990 and nine of them founded