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Avoidance, ambiguity, alternation: position blurring strategies in multidimensional party competition


Koedam, Jelle (2021). Avoidance, ambiguity, alternation: position blurring strategies in multidimensional party competition. European Union Politics, 22(4):655-675.

Abstract

In a multidimensional environment, parties may have compelling incentives to obscure their preferences on select issues. This study contributes to a growing literature on position blurring by demonstrating how party leaders purposively create uncertainty about where their party stands on the issue of European integration. By doing so, it theoretically and empirically disentangles the cause of position blurring—parties’ strategic behavior—from its intended political outcome. The analysis of survey and manifesto data across 14 Western European countries (1999–2019) confirms that three distinct strategies—avoidance, ambiguity, and alternation—all increase expert uncertainty about a party's position. This finding is then unpacked by examining for whom avoidance is particularly effective. This study has important implications for our understanding of party strategy, democratic representation, and political accountability.

Abstract

In a multidimensional environment, parties may have compelling incentives to obscure their preferences on select issues. This study contributes to a growing literature on position blurring by demonstrating how party leaders purposively create uncertainty about where their party stands on the issue of European integration. By doing so, it theoretically and empirically disentangles the cause of position blurring—parties’ strategic behavior—from its intended political outcome. The analysis of survey and manifesto data across 14 Western European countries (1999–2019) confirms that three distinct strategies—avoidance, ambiguity, and alternation—all increase expert uncertainty about a party's position. This finding is then unpacked by examining for whom avoidance is particularly effective. This study has important implications for our understanding of party strategy, democratic representation, and political accountability.

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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 > Health (social science)
Social Sciences & Humanities > Demography
Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Uncontrolled Keywords:political science and international relations, demography, health(social science) dimensionality, European integration, party strategy, position blurring, uncertainty
Language:English
Date:December 2021
Deposited On:21 Oct 2021 13:44
Last Modified:26 Mar 2024 02:39
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1465-1165
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/14651165211027472
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)