We present cross-national analyses - both cross-sectional and longitudinal - estimating the vote shares for approximately 80 parties across Western Europe from 1984 to 1998. The results indicate that parties' vote shares increase with their proximity to the centre of the voter distribution, although the effects are relatively small. These findings corroborate the theoretical results reported by Lin et al. in their article 'Equilibrium in Multican-didate Probabilistic Spatial Voting' (Public Choice, Vol. 98, pp. 59-82), and provide support for conclusions reported by other authors who rely on simulations of individual-level data from national election surveys. © European Consortium for Political Research 2005.