Chapter

Left–Right Orientations, Context, and Voting Choices<sup>*</sup>

Russell J. Dalton

in Citizens, Context, and Choice

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199599233
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595790 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599233.003.0005
Left–Right Orientations, Context, and Voting Choices*

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Democracy presumes that elections give citizens an opportunity to evaluate the policies of the incumbent government and make judgments about the desired course of government in the future. This chapter examines how the public's political orientations, based on the Left–Right scale, influence their voting choices. We then consider how the institutional context affects the voters' ability to make such policy linkages, and how institutional contexts shape the microlevel processes of policy voting. The results demonstrate how the institutional structure of electoral systems and the nature of party choices available to the voter can facilitate policy-based voting, and thereby strengthen the process of democratic representation through elections.

Keywords: Left–Right attitudes; voting behavior; party system; polarization; electoral supply; party images; CSES

Chapter.  9414 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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