The Decline of Party Identifications

Russell J. Dalton

in Parties Without Partisans

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780199253098
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599026 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

The Decline of Party Identifications

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Feelings of party identification are one of the most important concepts in electoral research; such attachments play a key role in guiding citizen behaviour and structuring party competition. This chapter assembles complete timeseries data from nearly 20 national opinion series to document the general erosion of partisanship. In nearly all nations, both the number of partisan identifiers and the strength of party identification are decreasing—generating a pattern of partisan dealignment in most nations. These declines are concentrated among the young, the better educated and the cognitively mobilized, while political performance seems to have little impact on these trends. We conclude that most contemporary democracies are experiencing a pattern of partisan dealignment that separates the public from the political parties.

Keywords: citizen behaviour; cognitive mobilization; dealignment; education; partisanship; party competition; party identification; political performance; young people

Chapter.  7796 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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