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Exploring voter alignments in Africa: core and swing voters in Ghana

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 October 2005

Staffan I. Lindberg
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Kent State University, formerly at Lund University.
Minion K. C. Morrison
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, University of Missouri.

Abstract

This article describes and analyses voter alignments in the new democracy of Ghana in two recent elections, 1996 and 2000. These elections are a part of the Fourth Republic that began with a ‘founding’ election in 1992, ushering Ghana into Africa's new wave of democratisation. First the size of the core voting population is established to be about 82% of the voting population, refuting the assumption that voting volatility in new and transitional democracies is always extremely high. A second conclusion is that core and swing voters cannot be distinguished by structural factors, whereas thirdly, the factors behind the party alignment of core voters are similar to Western patterns; primarily level of education, the rural-urban divide, income, and occupation. Finally, swing voters seem to be characterised by a conscious evaluation of government and candidate performance in a sign of relatively ‘mature’ democratic voting behaviour.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2005 Cambridge University Press

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