Living in the past or living in the future? Analyzing parties’ platform change in between elections,The Netherlands 1997–2014

Mariken van der Velden, Gijs Schumacher, Barbara Vis

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Do parties change their platform in anticipation of electoral losses? Or do parties respond to experienced losses at the previous election? These questions relate to two mechanisms to align public opinion with party platforms: (1) rational anticipation, and (2) electoral performance. While extant work empirically tested, and found support for, the latter mechanism, the effect of rational anticipation has not been put to an empirical test yet. We contribute to the literature on party platform change by theorizing and assessing how party performance motivates parties to change their platform in-between elections. We built a new and unique dataset of >20,000 press releases issued by 15 Dutch national political parties that were in parliament between 1997 and 2014. Utilizing automated text analysis (topic modeling) to measure parties’ platform change, we show that electoral defeat motivates party platform change in-between elections. In line with existing findings, we demonstrate that parties are backward-looking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-412
Number of pages20
JournalPolitical Communication
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018

Fingerprint

party platform
Netherlands
election
text analysis
parliament
public opinion
performance

Keywords

  • anticipation of opinion polls
  • electoral performance
  • government-opposition dynamics
  • political parties’ strategies
  • topic modeling

Cite this

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title = "Living in the past or living in the future? Analyzing parties’ platform change in between elections,The Netherlands 1997–2014",
abstract = "Do parties change their platform in anticipation of electoral losses? Or do parties respond to experienced losses at the previous election? These questions relate to two mechanisms to align public opinion with party platforms: (1) rational anticipation, and (2) electoral performance. While extant work empirically tested, and found support for, the latter mechanism, the effect of rational anticipation has not been put to an empirical test yet. We contribute to the literature on party platform change by theorizing and assessing how party performance motivates parties to change their platform in-between elections. We built a new and unique dataset of >20,000 press releases issued by 15 Dutch national political parties that were in parliament between 1997 and 2014. Utilizing automated text analysis (topic modeling) to measure parties’ platform change, we show that electoral defeat motivates party platform change in-between elections. In line with existing findings, we demonstrate that parties are backward-looking.",
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Living in the past or living in the future? Analyzing parties’ platform change in between elections,The Netherlands 1997–2014. / van der Velden, Mariken; Schumacher, Gijs; Vis, Barbara.

In: Political Communication, Vol. 35, No. 3, 03.07.2018, p. 393-412.

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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