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date: 17 June 2024

Party System Polarization and Electoral Behaviorlocked

Party System Polarization and Electoral Behaviorlocked

  • Ruth DassonnevilleRuth DassonnevilleDepartment of Political Science, University of Montreal
  •  and Semih ÇakırSemih ÇakırDepartment of Political Science, University of Montreal

Summary

When deciding whether to turn out to vote and what party to support, citizens are constrained by the available options within their party system. A rich literature shows that characteristics of this choice set, which capture how “meaningful” the choice is, have pervasive effects on electoral behavior and public opinion. Party system polarization in particular, which captures how ideologically dispersed the parties are, has received much attention in earlier work. More ideologically polarized party systems are associated with higher turnout rates, while both proximity voting and mechanisms of accountability appear strengthened when parties are more ideologically distinct. However, party system polarization also strengthens party attachments and entails a risk of fostering mass polarization.

Subjects

  • Political Behavior
  • Political Institutions
  • Public Opinion

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