ABSTRACT

Electoral democracy requires the support not only of mass publics but also of those who occupy political office. This chapter advances from this widely acknowledged verdict in democratic theory. It explores the extent to which political elites in European democracies support electoral democracy. It furthermore explores the motivational basis of politicians’ support for electoral democracy. In this vein, it particularly tests for the role of collective regime access in explaining individual-level variance. With this, we stress the strategic nature of the beliefs of politicians. We hypothesise that support for electoral democracy is contingent on its utility for collective policy-seeking concerns, independent of individual-level advantages. Lack of collective regime access results in critical attitudes toward electoral democracy since it negatively affects the ability to secure preferred policies. To test this argument, we take advantage of data resulting from the first wave of the Comparative Candidate Survey (CCS 1). These data include parliamentary candidates who hold or have held political office and whose beliefs can be compared with the beliefs of candidates without any positional advantage. To be able to test for the role of collective regime access, we further match the CCS data with our own data on the access of political parties to legislative mandates.