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The effects of party-issue associations on the voting decision process

TitleThe effects of party-issue associations on the voting decision process
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsLachat, Romain
Conference Name1st European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
KeywordsIssue ownership, Issue voting

Parties are often associated with specific issues. They can “own” an issue when they develop a reputation of competence and attention in that domain and they can strategically emphasize specific issues in their campaign. This paper suggests that these associations lead voters to weight issues differently when evaluating different political parties. An issue associated to a given party should have a stronger impact on citizens’ evaluations of that party than on the evaluation of its competitors. These hypotheses are tested in the case of the 1994 and 1998 Dutch elections. The results clearly show that the impact of issues on party evaluations varies across parties. The results further support the hypothesis that this variation is related to issue ownership. Short-term associations resulting from campaign strategies, in contrast, do not appear to influence how citizens evaluate parties.

effects of party-issue associations.pdf112.58 KB