Wähler als Wandervögel: Dealignment and the German Voter

in German Politics and Society
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The 2002 Bundestag elections demonstrate the emerging new style

of German electoral politics. Where once party competition was

built upon a stable base of Stammwähler, the catchword for 2002 was

the Wechselwähler—the changing voter. The traditional bonds to social

groups, such as class and religion, have steadily eroded across Bundestag

elections in the late twentieth century, and these bonds had a

diminished impact in 2002. Similarly, this chapter will demonstrate

that affective psychological ties that once connected citizens to their

preferred party have also weakened. Certainly some German voters

remain connected to a social milieu or a habitual party tie, but the

number of these voters is steadily decreasing.