- The electoral trade-off: how issues and ideology affect party preference formation in Europe
- Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Political science has shown increasing interest in cross-country differences in the extent of structural voting, ideological voting and issue voting. Several studies have identified how voting behaviour is structured in post-communist democracies of East-Central Europe and established democracies of Western Europe. This article looks beyond a simple East-West distinction by developing a more sophisticated general model to explain cross-country variations in the effects of issues and left-right on party support. We demonstrate that the more issues are related to left-right, the stronger is the effect of left-right on party preferences. This effect occurs at the expense of the effects of issues on party preferences, which become weaker. These general findings help explain why the effect of left-right on party preferences is weaker in post-communist democracies than in more established democracies. Our proposition is empirically substantiated in a two-stage analysis using the European Election Study 2009.
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