SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 664
Since election results routinely show that elderly people are especially prone to cast their votes for the German Conservatives and do hardly sympathize with the Greens, the question arises: Does the ageing of the electorate go along with an increasing asymmetry of electoral chances? The article examines whether the electoral success of the Conservatives in the elderly population stems from a long-standing party affiliation or from emerging conservative attitudes in the lifecourse. Using Data from the German Socio-economic Panel (SOEP) the results provide support for cohort effects: In the prospering era after World War II, many people established an affiliation towards the Conservatives and retained it. The Babyboomers instead show (1) a much lesser extent of support for the Conservatives (2) a much higher sympathy towards the Greens and (3) a higher rate of disenchantment with political parties at the same time. In sum, the ageing of the electorate may result in better electoral chances for the Greens rather than the conservatives.
population ageing election party identification cohort effects