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How parties react to voter transitions


Abou-Chadi, Tarik; Stoetzer, Lukas F (2020). How parties react to voter transitions. American Political Science Review, 114(3):940-945.

Abstract

This letter investigates how voter transitions between parties affect parties’ policy positioning. While a growing literature investigates the role of election results as signals for parties’ policy adaption, it has mostly focused on vote changes of individual parties. However, parties do not know only whether they have won or lost in an election; they also have detailed information on which parties they won votes from and which parties they lost votes to. We make two arguments about how voter transitions should affect the strategic policy choices of political parties. First, when a party has lost votes to another party it will adapt its policy positions toward that party. Second, parties that have overall lost more votes become more likely to adapt their positions. Making use of a data set on individual voter transitions and party positions we can demonstrate that voter transitions indeed affect parties’ competitive behavior.

Abstract

This letter investigates how voter transitions between parties affect parties’ policy positioning. While a growing literature investigates the role of election results as signals for parties’ policy adaption, it has mostly focused on vote changes of individual parties. However, parties do not know only whether they have won or lost in an election; they also have detailed information on which parties they won votes from and which parties they lost votes to. We make two arguments about how voter transitions should affect the strategic policy choices of political parties. First, when a party has lost votes to another party it will adapt its policy positions toward that party. Second, parties that have overall lost more votes become more likely to adapt their positions. Making use of a data set on individual voter transitions and party positions we can demonstrate that voter transitions indeed affect parties’ competitive behavior.

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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
Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:political science and international relations, sociology and political science
Language:English
Date:August 2020
Deposited On:29 Dec 2020 13:57
Last Modified:30 Dec 2020 21:00
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0003-0554
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/s0003055420000155

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