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Partisan choices in a direct-democratic campaign


Selb, P; Kriesi, H; Hänggli, R; Marr, M (2009). Partisan choices in a direct-democratic campaign. European Political Science Review, 1(1):155-172.

Abstract

Ever since Lazarsfeld and his colleagues’ (1944) seminal study, it has become common
wisdom that election campaigns, if anything, serve the activation of voters’ fundamental
predispositions. However, disagreement emerges on the role of partisan orientations.
Although some authors consider them as fundamental predispositions, which are
activated during the campaign and subsequently act as filters for incoming information,
others argue that party attachments are simple running tallies of political assessments,
which are constantly updated in response to campaign events, or decision shortcuts
for voters innocent of substantial information. In this study, we scrutinize the role of
partisan orientations in a direct-democratic campaign using data from a panel survey
fielded during the run-up to the 2006 Swiss asylum law referendum. We find that, as
voters accumulate knowledge in the course of the campaign, vote intentions dramatically
converge on pre-campaign partisan orientations. Moreover, voters, whose earlier issuespecific
and partisan orientations collide, tend to resolve their ambivalence in favour
of their partisan leanings. These results corroborate the view of partisanship as a
fundamental predisposition.

Ever since Lazarsfeld and his colleagues’ (1944) seminal study, it has become common
wisdom that election campaigns, if anything, serve the activation of voters’ fundamental
predispositions. However, disagreement emerges on the role of partisan orientations.
Although some authors consider them as fundamental predispositions, which are
activated during the campaign and subsequently act as filters for incoming information,
others argue that party attachments are simple running tallies of political assessments,
which are constantly updated in response to campaign events, or decision shortcuts
for voters innocent of substantial information. In this study, we scrutinize the role of
partisan orientations in a direct-democratic campaign using data from a panel survey
fielded during the run-up to the 2006 Swiss asylum law referendum. We find that, as
voters accumulate knowledge in the course of the campaign, vote intentions dramatically
converge on pre-campaign partisan orientations. Moreover, voters, whose earlier issuespecific
and partisan orientations collide, tend to resolve their ambivalence in favour
of their partisan leanings. These results corroborate the view of partisanship as a
fundamental predisposition.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Date:March 2009
Deposited On:17 Jul 2009 15:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:17
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:1755-7739
Additional Information:© European Consortium for Political Research
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S175577390900006X
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-19672

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