Year of Graduation
Influence of Socio-Economic Dynamics on the Electoral Support of the Authority in Russia
Faculty of Politics
The implementation of economic voting in Russia is not widely used in comparison with a lot of empirical studies written by American and Western European scholars. The use of quantitative research with econometric methods only begins to gain popularity among the Russian political scientists. In this regard, the scientific relevance of this work is connected with the desire to fill the gaps in the existing empirical studies on the reasons for supporting the current government in the Russian regions. At the same time, the influence of socio-economic factors cause the intense debate among Russian researchers about their relevance and validity. Scientific novelty of this work is to assess the influence of socio- economic factors as not static, but dynamic process. The experience of the federal election and the available socio-economic statistics by regions of Russia allows us to study panel data and consider the changes among electoral cycles. In addition, an attempt to analyze the extent of applicability of rational choice theory and quantitative methods to the analysis of Russia. Also, the author investigates whether the assumptions about the Russian elections (1990s - early 2000s) are true for the recent presidential and parliamentary elections too (1999-2012). Moreover, the research contains an attemp to work out new hypotheses on the basis of the identified patterns and behavioral characteristics of Russian voters. A correlation analysis, fixed and random effects models evaluate the impact of growth in GDP per capita, ratio of per capita income to the subsistence level, the average salary, ratio of the number of unemployed to the economically active population, the proportion of urban population and electoral turnout on the election results for the incumbent (V.Putin) , his successor (D.Medvedev) and the dominant party "United Russia ". In general , the certain improvements in socio-economic sphere for 1999-2012s had a positive impact on the electoral support of the incumbent and his successor (the coefficient of determination is 0.7) and the party "United Russia » (the coefficient of determination is 0.48). Thus, the effect of positive socio- economic changes in the region is more noticeable on the results of the parliamentary elections than presidential. For parliamentary elections the author observe the mix of egocentric and sociotropic voting : the higher the increase of GDP per capita and wage growth, the higher the electoral support of "United Russia". For the presidential election the sociotropic voting is more typical. The higher increase in GDP per capita and the poorer the region is, the tendency to vote for V.Putin and D.Medvedev is stronger. The analysis of polls showed that allmost all voters evaluate the change of government as a serious risk rather tahn a new opportunity, therefore, votштп for Putin or Medvedev and the "United Russia " is perceived as the preservation of the political status-quo. Thus, the electoral support of incumbents is taken place due to the high political risks with and fear of voters before the economic and political destabilization. The significance of the impact of social dynamics evaluated by the econometric models shows that the decision-making procces oriented on the support of the current government is based not only on expected (prospective) voting, but also on socio-economic changes (retrospective voting).