Electoral Volatility and Parties’ Ideological Responsiveness

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For a number of decades now, scholars have been indicating that ties between citizens and parties are eroding. As a consequence, electoral behavior has become more volatile and also more unpredictable. The consequences of this process of change on parties’ strategic behavior have however received little attention. In this paper, I examine the impact of dealignment on parties’ strategic behavior and focus on the extent to which parties are responsive to the mean voter. The expectation of dealignment allowing parties ‘to move around more freely’ leads to the hypothesis that parties are more responsive in a context of dealignment. The analyses provide evidence that is in line with this expectation. Ideological responsiveness is conditioned by the level of volatility in the electorate. The conclusion to draw from these results is that dealignment, which profoundly affects voters’ behavior, leads parties to become more responsive to the mean voter.



Dealignment, dynamic responsiveness, left-right, party strategies, Western Europe, volatility.


Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 16 avril 2018 à 9 h 14 min.