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The electoral appeal of party strategies in postindustrial societies: when can the mainstream left succeed?


Abou-Chadi, Tarik; Wagner, Markus (2019). The electoral appeal of party strategies in postindustrial societies: when can the mainstream left succeed? The Journal of Politics, 81(4):1405-1419.

Abstract

Recent elections have revived the debate about the decline of social democracy, often attributed to the numerical decline in the working class and its alienation due to the mainstream left’s economically centrist and socially liberal policy stances. To explain changes in these parties’ fortunes, we instead argue that researchers need to analyze the preferences of key electoral groups on the main axes of political competition and the role of information-transmitting intermediaries in shaping these preferences. Specifically, we suggest that (1) mainstream left parties can win votes by taking up more investment-oriented positions if they (2) also take up liberal sociocultural positions and (3) do not face opposition from influential unions. We find support for these expectations using aggregate-level election results and individual-level survey responses. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of party success in advanced democracies and for empirical models of party competition more generally.

Abstract

Recent elections have revived the debate about the decline of social democracy, often attributed to the numerical decline in the working class and its alienation due to the mainstream left’s economically centrist and socially liberal policy stances. To explain changes in these parties’ fortunes, we instead argue that researchers need to analyze the preferences of key electoral groups on the main axes of political competition and the role of information-transmitting intermediaries in shaping these preferences. Specifically, we suggest that (1) mainstream left parties can win votes by taking up more investment-oriented positions if they (2) also take up liberal sociocultural positions and (3) do not face opposition from influential unions. We find support for these expectations using aggregate-level election results and individual-level survey responses. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of party success in advanced democracies and for empirical models of party competition more generally.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science investment-consumption dimension, liberal-authoritarian dimension, mainstream left, social democracy, labor unions
Language:English
Date:October 2019
Deposited On:16 Dec 2019 14:23
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:24
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:0022-3816
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1086/704436

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Embargo till: 2020-10-31