Voting Behavior is a complex and challenging process. Many rational or irrational factors can influence voters. There are three different voting approaches in the literature in this complex process. These are expressed as sociological, psychological and rational (economic) approach (Kalender, 2005). According to the sociological approach (also known as Columbia school), voters can be influenced by the behavior of the social groups. In addition to this, some factors such as residence, economic status and religion are also influential in elections. Secondly, according to the socio-psychological approach, also known as the Michigan school, the voter has a party's historical affection. According to the rational approach, the voter decides by considering his / her interests and making a cost-benefit analysis as in the purchasing decision.
The subject of this study is to determine some factors that may be effective in these three approaches. Since the generation z is the study sample, the effect of social media, reference group and political interest has been a subject of curiosity.
The study investigates the voting behaviour of generation Z, who expressed as children of the technology. Approximately 7 million young voters will vote in the general elections of 2023. Therefore, examining the factors that can affect young voters' voting decisions will be a guide for especially political parties.
The study contributes to foreign and domestic literature by examining the relationship between social media, references group, political involvement and voting behaviour of young people.
The study was designed as a research article to analyze which factors would affect young voters' sociological, socio-psychological and rational voting behaviour.
Determining what factors affect the voting behaviour of young voters is a research problem of the study.
The universe of the study is the generation Z, born in and around 2000. The data were obtained from 182 participants using a web-based questionnaire. Participants were determined by convenience sampling method.
Using a quantitative research method, the research model was tested with PLS (Partial Least Squares) based structural equation modelling. SPSS v 23 statistics program was also used for classification of data.
The research model designed within the aim of the study is summarized in Figure 1 as below. The hypotheses developed based on the research model are listed as follows:
H1: Social media is effective in socio-psychological voting behaviour.
H2: Social media is effective in rational voting behaviour.
H3: Social media is effective in sociological voting behaviour.
H4: The reference group effect is effective in socio-psychological voting behaviour.
H5: The reference group effect is effective in rational voting behaviour.
H6: The reference group effect is effective in sociological voting behaviour.
H7: Political involvement is effective on socio-psychological voting behaviour.
H8: Political involvement is effective in rational voting behaviour.
H9: Political involvement is effective in sociological voting behaviour.
Reference Group Effect
Figure 1. The Research Model
The survey method was used to collect data in the study. One hundred eighty-two voters participated in the research questionnaire. 69.8% of the participants (127 people) were female, and 30.2% (55 people) were male. The sample's age group was the generation Z. Young voters in different 36 provinces participated in the survey.
According to findings obtained from the study using the SmartPLS measurement model, H1, H2 hypotheses were supported, but H3 hypothesis was not supported. While social media affects socio-psychological and rational voting behaviour, it does not affect sociological voting behaviour. Secondly, H4 and H6 hypotheses were supported, but H5 hypothesis was not supported. That is, reference group influence affects socio-psychological and sociological voting behaviour, but not on rational voting behaviour. Lastly, H7 hypothesis was supported, but H8, H9 hypotheses were not supported. In other words, It is seen that the political involvement of the voters only affect socio-psychological voting behaviour and not on rational voting and sociological voting behaviour.
When the results are examined in general, it is seen that the common side of all three independent variables is practical on socio-psychological voting behaviour. In the socio-psychological approach, an emotional commitment based on childhood is mentioned. Individuals are more easily affected by their families or peers at an early age because young voters may not know to make politically rational decisions. On the other hand, their political commitment in the sociological approach may not have fully developed and internalized what social values bring. For these reasons, it can be stated that the young Z generation tends to vote socio-psychologically.
This study can guide political parties and leaders on how to persuade and interact with young people. These young voters who will participate in democracy constitute an important voter group, especially in Turkey with a large young population. Therefore, political parties should not adopt a general approach but should take into account generational differences. Political parties should analyze the differences between generations well.
The research was conducted with a limited number of variables and samples. Different results may occur in studies with different generations, different demographic characteristics, or more participation. Especially in countries with a large young population, different variables that can be effective in voting behaviour may be studied as other research topics. We hope that this study will contribute to the people who want to work in this field and political parties.