This study has two key aims. First, it explores the two main methods used in the Czech Republic to operationalize the concept of party identification. Second this study demonstrates the merits of both methods; and on the basis of this research proposes one of these party identification measures for use in future studies. This study builds on the classical conceptualization of party identification developed by the Michigan School, but also utilizes (1) reformulations proposed by the Revisionist School; (2) Macropartisanship theory; (3) the Social Identity approach; and (4) experience of using the party identification measure in Europe. Using the Czech Election Study of 2002 this research shows that estimates of partisanship are influenced by how the survey question is formulated. Thereafter, the relationship between the two main variants used in the Czech Republic is presented. This work reveals that use of a (prior) vote intention item leads to an 'over estimation' of partisanship when compared to the other partisan measure. Comparing estimates from the Czech Election Studies of 1996, 2002 and 2006 this article reveals that there is no simple association between party identification and voter turnout. In fact, it is better to think of party identification as having two components: (a) probability to vote; and (b) probability to support a party that elicits a sense of identity from voters.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.