Although the over-representation of working-class members among the electorates of Extreme Right Parties (ERPs) in Western Europe is well documented, previous studies have usually explained this pattern as a result of this voter group's changing political preferences. In contrast to these studies, this article argues that it is not the changing political preferences of the working class that lead them to vote for ERPs, but changes in the supply side of party competition that have caused the re-orientation of these voters from left-wing parties toward the extreme right. Differentiating between an economic and a cultural dimension of party competition, it is shown that both the policy options offered by parties to voters as the salience of the two issue-dimensions have changed dramatically over the last three decades. While the salience of economic issues as well as of party system polarization among these issues have declined in most Western European countries, the very opposite trend can be identified for non-economic issues, including the core issues of ERPs (for example, immigration, and law-and-order). These changes on the supply side of party competition cause working-class voters to base their vote decisions solely on their authoritarian, non-economic preferences and not – as in the past – on their left-wing economic demands. The theoretical assumptions are tested empirically with data from the Eurobarometer Trend File for the period from 1980 to 2002. In contexts where the economic dimension is more polarized or more salient than the cultural dimension, the positive impact of being a member of the working class on the vote decision for an ERP is significantly reduced.
West European Politics, Volume 34, Number 3, May 2011 , pp. 644-663(20)
Autore: Gianfranco Baldini
Italy is the only established democracy where two major electoral reforms took place inthe last 20 years (respectively in 1993 and 2005). Adopting Renwick's approach, which distinguishes between elite majority imposed and elite-mass interaction reforms, the article analyses electoral reforms in Italy in the post-World War II period. By examining the long-term importance of electoral rules in Italian politics, it argues that PR played a uniquely fundamental role in shaping both the so-called Italian 'First Republic' and the still unfulfilled transition towards a reformed political system....
Two new studies challenge the prevailing consensus that proportional representation (PR) systems produce greater ideological congruence between governments and their citizens than majoritarian ones. This has led to what has become known as the ‘ideological congruence controversy’. G. Bingham Powell claims to resolve this controversy in favour of PR systems. Specifically, he argues that the results from the two new studies are based on an anomalous decade and that PR systems generally do produce greater government congruence. In addition, he also asserts that PR systems exhibit less variability in government congruence. In this article, the empirical evidence for these two claims is re-evaluated using exactly the same data as employed by Powell. The analysis indicates that although PR systems produce better and more consistent representation in the legislature, they do not hold an advantage when it comes to representation at the governmental level.
Party Politics, July 2011 vol. 17 no. 4488-504
Autori: Richard Dunphy, Tim Bale
This article raises questions about how best to assess the performance of radical left parties participating in coalition governments. Drawing in part on interviews (see Appendix 1), it covers parties that have participated in coalition government (Cyprus, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Norway), or have acted as ‘support parties’ (Denmark, Sweden), or are debating the ‘pros and cons’ of coalition participation (Netherlands). It undertakes a comparative analysis of how radical left parties themselves evaluate the measure of their achievements and failings in coalition government — a critical exercise for such parties...
Multidimensional scaling (or MDS) is a methodology for producing geometric models of proximities data. Multidimensional scaling has a long history in political science research. However, most applications of MDS are purely descriptive, with no attempt to assess stability or sampling variability in the scaling solution. In this article, we develop a bootstrap resampling strategy for constructing confidence regions in multidimensional scaling solutions. The methodology is illustrated by performing an inferential multidimensional scaling analysis on data from the 2004 American National Election Study (ANES). The bootstrap procedure is very simple, and it is adaptable to a wide variety of MDS models. Our approach enhances the utility of multidimensional scaling as a tool for testing substantive theories while still retaining the flexibility in assumptions, model details, and estimation procedures that make MDS so useful for exploring structure in data.