within the markets or throughout elections, behaviors that change regularly | EUROtoday

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History of an idea. Borrowed from chemistry, the time period “volatility” historically designates the power of a strong or liquid physique to cross into the gaseous state. But it’s primarily used as we speak to designate two types of uncertainty: that of elections and that of the markets. As if politics and economics, as soon as comparatively steady, have been changing into an increasing number of “gaseous”.

The expression “electoral volatility” turned established in France from the start of the Nineteen Eighties. It was then a query of describing the decline in partisan attachment, a phenomenon that had been noticed within the United States for the reason that years 1970. The political scientist Gérard Grunberg is without doubt one of the first to indicate the fact, in a pioneering examine on voting routes between 1981 and 1984. It shall be confirmed by all subsequent surveys. Nonna Mayer, researcher on the CNRS, summarizes this now basic work: “Previously, we observed that class and religion predicted voting. But for more than forty years, we have seen a fundamental movement which means that voters are more and more unpredictable. »

This unpredictability, which today concerns a wide diversity of voters, has three main faces: indecision before voting, which can lead to changing the ballot during the electoral campaign (9% of voters between March and May for the European elections of June 9); the intermittency of voting or abstention, from one election to another (14% of voters); or the evolution of partisan preferences from one election to another.

“Electoral uncertainty”

For a very long time, electoral indecision solely involved candidates or lists throughout the similar political camp. Voters who crossed the border between proper and left remained a really small minority, earlier than changing into an increasing number of quite a few. In 2017, Emmanuel Macron established for the primary time a divide between the middle and the far proper, managing to draw voters from each the proper and the left. The final European elections, in lots of respects, confirmed this volatility.

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Have voters change into easy shoppers involved with maximizing the utility of their vote on the political market? This is how the American political scientist Anthony Downs (1930-2021) understood it, who helped lay the theoretical foundations of what he calls “electoral uncertainty” in his 1957 e-book, An financial principle of democracy (Editions of the University of Brussels, 2013).

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