Electoral Chairs’ Seminars – May 24th

An ideological trade-off: Electoral consequences of consistent and responsive party strategies

Jasmien Luypaert – PhD Candidate at Gent University

Political parties face a difficult balancing act when making electoral calculations. They must weigh the benefits of offering policy positions in line with their ideological heritage and traditionally bind their party base, against the need to be responsive to changing voter preferences. This article argues that parties can overcome this trade-off by adopting a strategy that distinguishes between policy positions on primary issues that they are rooted in and secondary issues where they have a low level of issue linkage. Specifically, this article expects that parties can demonstrate their responsiveness by shifting their position on secondary issues while maintaining ideological stability on primary issues. The article presents a theoretical framework and proposes the design of a conjoint experiment to test these expectations and their potential electoral consequences in Flanders.

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This content has been updated on 24 May 2023 at 9 h 23 min.