Rowman and Littlefield International

The Nordic Voter

Myths of Exceptionalism

By Åsa Bengtsson, Kasper Hansen, and Ólafur þ Harðarson

The Nordic Voter is the first book-length comparative analysis of voting behaviour in the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.

Paperback ISBN: 9781907301506 Release date: Nov 2013
£30.00 €41.00 $49.00

Pages: 264

ECPR Press

The Nordic Voter is the first book-length comparative analysis of voting behaviour in the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland. Leading scholars from national election studies teams present a detailed account of voter turnout, party identification, satisfaction with democracy, preferential voting, government support and party choice. The five-nation study is based on a comparative data set prepared uniquely for this book that allows for comprehensive analysis of the diversity in voting behaviour in the Nordic countries, as well as discrepancies between Nordic and non Nordic countries. The book counters the widespread tendency for comparative analyses to lump Nordic countries together. Its general claim, substantiated by a unique and extensive empirical analysis of voter behaviour, is that the differences between the Nordic countries are in fact so large – in terms of institutional settings and micro-level voting behaviour – that there is no justification for making general claims about a typical ‘Nordic voter'. The authors challenge presumptions about ‘remarkable similarities' between Nordic voters, revealing numerous examples of remarkable dissimilarities between voters in the Nordic countries.


List of Figures and Tables vii

Contributors xi

Foreword xiii

Chapter One: Introduction 1

Chapter Two: The Nordic Political Systems and our Research Design 11

Chapter Three: The Nordic Party Systems 27

Chapter Four: Voters and Representative Democracy 41

Chapter Five: Party Identification in the Nordic Countries 67

Chapter Six: Candidate Voting 81

Chapter Seven: Voters and the Election Campaign 103

Chapter Eight: Voters and the Government 123

Chapter Nine: Voters and Party Choice 149

Chapter Ten: The Not-So-Exceptional Nordic Voter 179

Appendix 189

References 217

Index 237

Åsa Bengtsson PhD is professor in political science at Mid Sweden University and currently works as Academy Research Fellow at the Department of Political Science, Åbo Akademi University. She is a member of the Finnish National Election Studies steering group and collaborates on several comparative research projects, including the Comparative Candidate Study and The True European Voter. Her research focuses on political opinion and behaviour with a specific interest in attitudes towards political processes, preferential voting patterns, roles of representation, economic voting and minority politics. Bengtsson has published books, edited volumes and articles in, among others, European Journal of Political Research, West European Politics, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties and Scandinavian Political Studies.

Kasper M Hansen is professor in political science with special responsibilities in applied quantitative methodology at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Political Science. His research focuses on applied research in democracy, political behaviour (particularly voting behaviour) and public opinion. Hansen has published a number of articles in The European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Public Choice, Electoral Studies, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Scandinavian Political Studies, Public Administration, Politica, Økonomi & Politik, and Metode & Data. Hansen is part of the team conducting the Danish National Election Study. At present, he is involved principally in a large voter turnout research project and in an electoral campaign project. See

Ólafur Þ Harõarson PhD is professor of Political Science at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Iceland. His research focus is on electoral behaviour, public opinion, and democracy. He has been the principal investigator of the Icelandic election study from its beginning in 1983, and takes part in international projects, including the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), and the True European Voter. Harõarson has published books, book chapters and articles in journals including Electoral Studies and the European Journal of Political Research. He sits on the Executive Committee of the ECPR.

Hanne Marthe Narud (1958-2012) was professor of political science at the University of Oslo. Her main research focus was on coalition behaviour, political recruiting, and voting behaviour. She published articles in Comparative Sociology, European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies, West European Politics, Scandinavian Political Studies, Party Politics, Journal of Legislative Studies, Journal of Theoretical Politics and Acta Politica, in addition to numerous contributions to books in Norwegian and English. She also wrote a book with Henry Valen on political representation in a multiparty system. She was frequently called upon to commentate on Norwegian politics in the news media.

Henrik Oscarsson is professor in electoral studies at the University of Gothenburg. His research focus is on representative democracy, opinion formation, voting behaviour and political methodology. Oscarsson is research director of the SOM Institute at UoG and head of the Swedish National Election Studies programme (SNES). He has published numerous monographs, edited volumes, book chapters and articles in Scandinavian Political Studies and Party Politics on democracy, public opinion, political behaviour and social science methodology.

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