Elections are a way to involve citizens in public life. Also, give them a chance to express their wishes or represent their ideologies. So how do citizens determine which person, party, or opinion they will vote for? A scientific study investigating citizens’ voting behavior is called psephology. It inquires, a tendency to an ideology. Different factors affect people when they are giving a vote. That factors based on psychological, sociological, economic, and ideological influences and divided into four most significant models, which are party-identification, sociological, rational-choice, and dominant-ideology models.

 If to mention all of them briefly, the Party-Identification model based on the sense of psychological attachment that people have to parties (A. Heywood, 2013). There is a big commitment to the party; the thoughts of the party are now their thoughts. That called partisanship. The next one is the Sociological model. The voters see the voting as an instrument. So they choose the best party/candidate/ideology for their group. In that model, voters should be seen as different groups instead of groups of individuals (Kalender, 2005:52). Thirdly, in the Rational-choice model, voting is seen as a rational act and basis on personal self-interest. Individuals should know their interests and evaluate the candidates/parties/ideologies in that context. The last one is the Dominant-ideology model.  Even if it has a lot of common way with the sociological model, but the power of the media is the most influential in the dominant model (Sarlamanov and Jovanoski, 2014).

 In Turkey, certain behaviors can be said to be effective in certain periods. Between the 1950-60s, citizens adopted the DP (Democrat Party) and made their perspective themselves. People adopted the DP so much that they did not stop voting for the continuation of the AP (Justice Party) despite the 1960 Military Coup. During the 60s and 70s, the effects of the social model began to be seen. Worker groups gave their votes to the left parties; the conservative people were using the vote from the rightist parties. After the 1980 Military Coup, Turgut Ozal winning the elections and Turkey met a much more liberal understanding. As a result of that, freelance entrepreneurs-such as Sakıp Sabancı- supported Ozal for their own interests. The Rational-choice model can be observable at that years. To come today and last twenty years, the Dominant-ideology model is by far prevail. With the development of technology, the media has become a much more valuable tool. Those who have the power to direct the media are strong and effective on the public. Today’s AKP Government uses the media in the direction of their own interests. Cause of that, especially their voting audience, they have no choice to see or listen to other views and chance their decisions.

To sum up, different times and living conditions influence political life and people’s ideas differently. In my opinion, the most effective behavior is the Sociological model because we are living in a community and should think other’s goodness.


Andrew Heywood, Politics (4. Edition), Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

Kalender, A. (2005). Siyasal iletişim. Seçmenler ve İkna Stratejileri, Konya, Çizgi Kitabevi.

Sarlamanov, K. and Jovanoski, A., 2014. Models of Voting. International Refereed Research Journal, 5(1).


Middle East Technical University-Political Science

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