A normal vote is a hypothetical election result following exclusively from predispositions of voters towards political parties which result from long-term or middle-term influences. The influence of short-term factors like attractive candidates or issues from the recent campaign has to be eliminated within the abstract model. As an operationalization for German Bundestag elections for this purpose the average vote intentions of population groups are used which are part of the politicized German social structures such as Catholics, especially when they attend church frequently, or employees (Arbeitnehmer) and union members who have formed enduring coalitions with a political party. This operationalization is compared with a model originally developed for the United States. According to this model, the long-term factor is measured by party identification. All Bundestag elections of the Kohl era are analyzed, for which the Politbarometer surveys of the Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, Mannheim, immediately before the Bundestag elections are used as a data basis. The vote intentions which can be derived from the politicized social structure are shown to be a stabile basis for a German normal vote so that it makes sense to compute normal vote results from 1983 to 1998.
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