The determinants of vote choice in Portugal

D'Oliveira, Manuela (1989). The determinants of vote choice in Portugal. PhD thesis The Open University.



The Reasoned Action model was applied in Portugal to study the factors which determine vote choice among Portuguese voters. Covering three elections (the 1980 Presidential election, the 1982 Local elections and the 1983 General election) the study was started six years after the Revolution of 25 April 1974 which restored Democracy after 48 years of the Salazar-Caetano Dictatorship.

The Reasoned Action model, successfully tested in one American Presidential election and in one British General election, assumes that voting intentions are directly related to a) attitudes towards voting for each candidate or party based on knowledge voters possess about important issues and about the candidates or parties stands on them, and b) social influence factors based on voters' beliefs on the opinions of trusted referents as to whom they should be voting for.

The results obtained in the three Portuguese electoral studies give strong support to the thesis that in spite of their undemocratic background Portuguese voters like their American and British counterparts make reasoned choices based on their knowledge of important issues and of the differences between the candidates' or parties' stands on such issues. As in the American and British studies the weight of the attitudinal component of the Reasoned Action model was found to be a much more significant determinant of voting intentions than its social influence component.

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