Putting the damper on: Do parties de-emphasize issues in response to internal divisions among their supporters?

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18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Do parties de-emphasize issues in response to internal divisions among their supporters, and are niche parties more likely to do so than mainstream parties? This study builds on previous research demonstrating that parties change their issue positions in response to their supporters. Simultaneously, a number of studies have emerged arguing that the linkage between parties and citizens is moderated by the type of party (mainstream versus niche). By means of a pooled time-series analysis of 197 parties in 14 West European countries between 1986 and 2006, this study provides convincing empirical evidence that parties downplay issues in response to internal divisions among their supporters. There are, however, no differences between niche and mainstream parties in their responsiveness to internal disagreement. This study has important implications for the literature on responsiveness between parties and their supporters, as well as for our understanding of the strategic behaviour of niche vis-à-vis mainstream parties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-340
JournalParty Politics
Volume20
Issue number3
Early online dateMar 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • internal divisions
  • intra-party democracy
  • mainstream parties
  • niche parties
  • responsiveness

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