This study reanalyzes the linkage between economic conditions and votes for an incumbent party using aggregate time-series data on U. S. federal and Japanese national elections. The uniqueness of the study is the use of a Seemingly Unrelated Regressions (SUR) technique that estimates vote functions for presidential, Senate, and House elections (House of Representatives and House of Councilors elections) jointly as system equations. The technique exploits all the information in aggregate election data and is capable of estimating vote functions more efficiently than existing techniques that omit part of the information in estimation. The SUR estimation uncovers the presence of the economic effect in Japanese elections that previous studies failed to find because of their inability to use all the information in aggregate data or because of Kramer's (1983) problem inherent in cross-sectional survey analyses. Further, the study conducts formal cross-equation tests which show that, in the United States, the economic effect is greater in presidential than in legislative elections, whereas, in Japan, the effect is in similar magnitude in elections for both chambers of the Diet. Finally, the analysis detects a fundamental difference between the 1992 U. S. presidential and the 1993 Japanese parliamentary elections in which the incumbent conservative governments were defeated in the beginning of the new post-cold war era: the latter deviated significantly from the voting pattern in previous elections, while the former did not. The study argues that retrospective voting shown to shape the standard electoral behavior in both states is rational and may not induce socially suboptimal political business cycles in the economy where large portion of economic growth is permanent. The electoral foundation of democracy is found to exist in Japan and the United States given the evidence that voters evaluate an incumbent party's economic performance correctly and critically in elections.
Using the 1994 American National Election Study data, this article tests five different hypotheses that attempt to explain the Republican victory at the 1994 Mid-term Congressional Election. Because the 1994 ANES data contains panel samples who responded at both 1992 and 1994 waves, it permits a researcher to study the reasons of the 1994 Republican vote gain from the previous election. The hypothesis tested here include: 1) Disapproval-of-Clinton-administration hypotheses, 2) personal-economic-condition hypothesis, 3) party-support-realignment hypothesis, 4) distrust-against-incumbent-candidates hypothesis, and 5) party-mobilization hypothesis. The cross-sectional analysis indicates that each factors, except for the personal economic condition, has statistically significant association with the vote choice while controlling for the effect of other factors. The panel analysis, however, suggests that the mobilization hypothesis only explains the Republican gain from the previous election. The analysis implies that unlike most journalistic accounts that tend to attribute the Republican victory to the change in voters' attitude and behavior, the electorate took only a passive role.
On February 28, 1995, Supreme court of Japan held that providing voting rights to alien people did not violate the Constitution of Japan. It also stated that it was a legislative discretion to provide voting rights for alien people at local elections. This judgement had a strong effect on the constitutional theory, because it had been common to deny alien suffrage in Japan. Some critics argue, however, that providing voting rights to alien people, at least at local elections is possible because local voting rights are guaranteed by article 93, sec. 2 of the constitution, which guarantees local voting rights to “Jyumin”, for they argue “Jyumin” can include alien people. This paper diagnoses such arguments. Voting rights embrace two characters. First, they have a character which reflects participation in government. Second, they have one which reflects public concerns and the electoral system. First character is guaranteed by article 15, sec. 1 of the constitution of Japan, not only at congressional elections, but also at local elections. Thus, when we want to provide voting rights to alien people, we have to reconsider the concept of “Kokumin”, because constitutional law gurantees voting rights to “Kokumin”.
This study investigates the process model of public opinion formation mediated by perceived media impact. Davison (1983) coined the the term “third-person effect”: i. e., individuals tend to perceive a stronger impact of media message persuasiveness on others rather than on themselves. Several studies, the reafter, found the evidence of this tendency to overestimate the media's impact on others as compared with the self (Perloff, 1993, for a review). Davison also proposed that individulals are inclined to cope with perceived others' attitude change as a consequence of the media's impact, i. e., people change their own attitude or behavior in response to the perceived others' change, which means that they themselves are influenced by media messages in question (the third-person effect hypothesis). This hypothesis suggests that perception of media's impact mediates the actual impact. The third-person effect is related to several social psychological phenomena. First, the notion of self-other distinction (perceived discrepancy between self and others) is relevant to “fundamental attribution error” (e. g., Ross, 1977). Second, “pluralistic ignorance”, which means misperception of social distribution of opinion, is related to the perceived discrepancy. Third, the idea that people's expectations are the key to their actual behaviors is substantially paralleled to the argument of “spiral of silence” hypothesis (Noelle-Neumann, 1984). The hypothesis suggests that those who perceive themselves as minority hold their tongues in fear of expected isolation. Relating to these phenomena, the present author proposed the process model of public opinion formation through the third-person effect as follows; The greater the perceived third-person effect is, the larger the discrepancy between one's own opinion and expected public opinion will be (Hypothesis 1). Also, as the discrepancy increases, the perceivers will change their attitudes or behaviors all the more (Hypothesis 2). These hypotheses were confirmed by the author's two studies. n study 1, the third-person effect was correlated with the expectation of discrepancy between one's own opinion and public opinion. Study 2 showed that the third-person effect facilitated the intention to speak out, which was not predicted by the spiral of silence hypothesis.
Mr. Yukio AOSHIMA in Tokyo and Mr. Nokku YOKOYAMA in Osaka unaffiliated with any established political party, were elected as governor. They defeated the candidates jointly fieided by established political parties. The majority of voters, particularly in Tokyo and in Osaka, voted “no” to the continuation of party-oriented local administration vertically linked to national politics. They said the increased Independents voted them and made them the governor. The purpose of this paper is first to make clear about the voting behavior of Independents, using our survey data. And second is how AOSHIMA was elected. The successful candidate have been achieved mainly by increased Independents, voters disengagement from party identification. They were supported for established political parties before the summer of two years ago, but in two years, they reject any political parties. Despite of the changing alliances among groups, major political parties differ little from what they were before two years. And more important thing is the low voting percentage, about 50%. We must consider about this.
At the beginning of 1990s new political parties were born in two countries that had one-party dominant regimes. New Democracy in Sweden won 25 seats of 349 and 6, 73% of the voter in the 1991 general election, and the Japan New Party won 35 of 511 and 8, 0% in the 1993 general election. They could succeed only short after they were made. But they made hasty exits. New Democracy got only 1, 23% of the voter and no seat in the next 1994 election, while the New Japan Party dissolved itself and made another new party, the New Frontier Party. Why did they experience the rise and fall in a short term? This article answers this question in terms of ‘discontent political party’. First it is clarified what characteristics the voters to the new parties had. Second the conditions under which the new parties could have enough support to enter the Riksdag or the Diet are examined; concretely, what the discontent of the electorate was under one-party dominant regimes, the preconditions in which the electorate would vote to a different party from one in a previous election and the ability of new parties to absorb discontent. Last it is discussed what the discontent with discontent parties was, which enforced the parties to loose their high support.