Parties and Voters in Two Dimensions: A First Examination of the Landscape

Sonia Alonso

in Challenging the State: Devolution and the Battle for Partisan Credibility

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691579
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741234 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Parties and Voters in Two Dimensions: A First Examination of the Landscape

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Chapter 4 presents an operationalization of the centre–periphery electoral dimension based on the content-analysis of parties’ manifestos and a general description of parties’ and voters’ positions along the centre–periphery dimension in Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the UK. The empirical results show that peripheral parties are not single-issue organizations, even if their manifestos dedicate much more space to emphasize centre–periphery issues than state parties do. Peripheral parties are a heterogeneous group whose manifestos present a large variance in the levels of saliency, position and consistency of the pro-periphery issues. Voters’ preferences along the centre–periphery dimension concentrate on the middle of the scale and there has been a process of increased moderation across time. The voters’ distributions of preferences are consistent with the positions adopted by political parties—which tend to be mildly pro-periphery—as is to be expected from vote-maximizing parties.

Keywords: centre–periphery position; left–right position; issue diversity; issue consistency; voters’ preferences; Belgium; Italy; Spain; United Kingdom

Chapter.  12053 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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