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New Zealand 2017 Election -- The Influence of Voters' Social-Economic Status on the Party Choice
  • Norris Wangina
Norris Wangina
Papua New Guinea Education Institute

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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A considerable amount of literature has been published about election studies around the world. An area that interests many scholars in those studies is the influence of voters’ social-economic status on the party of choice they voted for in elections (Coffe, Voweles & Curtin, 2014). Therefore, this research intends to identify if the social-economic status of voters influenced their voted choice of party in New Zealand’s 2017 election.
It is significant to conduct this study because all political parties present themselves as universal with policies that are beneficial to all citizens (Afnoso, 2016). However, an increasing gap between the rich and the poor should question those policies. It should concern the government, the bureaucrats, and the public because it can affect the social, political, and economic participation of disadvantage groups (Szewczyk, 2015). And because inequality affects all spheres of life, it can influence voters’ party choices. The party choice is so significant because it is the party with the majority of candidates that eventually forms the government and which decides on all of the country’s affairs which will affect every individual citizen and future generations too.
Because of its significance, much research has been conducted in different countries to identify the influence that voters’ social-economic status has on their party choice. For example, Winters et al. (2017) conducted a related study in Britain, Pietsch (2017) in Australia and Suryanarayan (2018) in India and they discovered that there was strong correlation between the social economic status of voters and their party choice. However, a comparable study conducted in the United States by Gelman, Kenworthy and Su (2010) found that there was no clear pattern of relationship between voters’ social economic status and their party choice. Gelman et al. (2010) suggest that the influence must be due to other factors such as religion, education, or gender. In New Zealand, Coffe et al. (2014) conducted similar research and found that inequality does affect the party choice of voters and is a significant issue to be addressed. The inequality factors include income inequality, gender inequality, and inequality in the status of other minority groups.
Because gender inequality exists just like income inequality, the probability of gender inequality influencing an election outcome is also high. Coffe et al (2014) explain that it is the support of equality that was widely accepted, giving rise to gender equality rights, income equality rights and the equality and respect for minority groups. Even today, these groups still demand more recognition from the state and the desire of achieving their demands can influence their party choices. Therefore, this research tries to establish the relationship between voters’ social-economic status and the party they voted for (their party choice) in the 2017 election. Because of the nature of the issue, gender inequality might also influence voters’ choices. Gender is used in this study as an interfering variable in the relationship between social-economic status and party-choice.