Partisan Dealignment in Germany: A rejoinder to Russell Dalton
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofGerman politics ; vol. 23, no. 1-2, pp. 145-155.
The work of Russell Dalton has undoubtedly played a seminal role in the study of the relation between political sophistication and partisan dealignment. We furthermore acknowledge the presence of a consensus on the occurrence of lower levels of partisanship in Germany. Using panel data as well as pooled cross-sectional observations, however, it is clear that generational replacement is not the sole driving force of partisan dealignment, but that period effects should also be taken into account. While on an aggregate level rising levels of political sophistication have occurred simultaneously with decreasing partisanship, individual level analysis suggests clearly that the least sophisticated are most likely to feel alienated from the party system. We close with some very specific suggestion on how to address the democratic consequences of declining levels of partisanship.