Ideological Congruence

Robert Rohrschneider and Stephen Stephen

in The Strain of Representation

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652785
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744907 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Ideological Congruence

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This chapter examines the ideological congruence between parties and independent, partisan, and median independent voters. The chapter shows that partisans are more polarized ideologically than are independents. Moreover, the connections between ideology and specific issue positions are stronger among partisans than independents. Three overarching patterns emerged when we examine the absolute distance of parties to partisans and independents. First, systematic differences in how far away parties are to each voter group show how important this partisan/independent distinction is to assessing the quality of representation. Second, parties are considerably more distant to their own independent voters than their partisan voters, attesting to their difficulty to be simultaneously close to different voter groups. Third, there are few differences between West and East in party-voter distance, setting up an important ‘meta-question’ of this study: why is congruence so similar given the myriad of contextual differences? The chapter addresses this question in the conclusion.

Keywords: representation; congruence; partisanship; party ideology; dealignment; Europe; Western Europe; Eastern Europe

Chapter.  9154 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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