Ideological Polarization: Different Worlds in East and West

Hermann Schmitt and André Freire

in Citizens and the European Polity

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199602339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199949908 | DOI:

Series: IntUne

Ideological Polarization: Different Worlds in East and West

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Ideological polarization is often understood as threatening the quality of electoral democracy. However, the contrary view has also been expressed, namely that ideological depolarization, by causing electoral fatigue and the rise of anti-system parties, is detrimental to the well-being of electoral democracy. This paper does three things: (a) it explores recent trends in ideological de-/polarization in Europe; (b) it identifies some of the likely antecedents of ideological de-/polarization; and (c) it explores the consequences of ideological de-/polarization with regard to one indicator of the quality of electoral democracy: turnout.

Keywords: ideological polarization; turnout; quality of democracy

Chapter.  7948 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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