Conversion, Acquiescence, or Delusion: The Contingent Nature of the Party-Voter Connection

Conversion, Acquiescence, or Delusion: The Contingent Nature of the Party-Voter Connection Normative theories of representative government posit congruence of opinion between the electorate and their representatives. However, not all political issues are equally salient, and agreement is expected to be greater on relatively salient issues. This paper employs balance theory to describe mechanisms which may produce congruence of opinion between voters and parties when an issue increases rapidly in salience. Panel data on Norwegian opinion during the debate on European Union membership are used to determine whether opinion congruence resulted from persuasion by political parties or policy voting by the electorate. Policy voters are found to differ systematically from voters who were persuaded by parties. Finally, the characteristics of parties which determine their success in persuading voters or attracting policy voters are evaluated. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Conversion, Acquiescence, or Delusion: The Contingent Nature of the Party-Voter Connection

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1023326710016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Normative theories of representative government posit congruence of opinion between the electorate and their representatives. However, not all political issues are equally salient, and agreement is expected to be greater on relatively salient issues. This paper employs balance theory to describe mechanisms which may produce congruence of opinion between voters and parties when an issue increases rapidly in salience. Panel data on Norwegian opinion during the debate on European Union membership are used to determine whether opinion congruence resulted from persuasion by political parties or policy voting by the electorate. Policy voters are found to differ systematically from voters who were persuaded by parties. Finally, the characteristics of parties which determine their success in persuading voters or attracting policy voters are evaluated.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 28, 2004

References

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