Shifts in political parties' issue positions: Win-stay, lose-shift, satisficing and political network effects

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Abstract

Issue positions of parties according to the media have become more volatile during the last decades. Presumably parties feel the need to remain newsworthy and attractive for voters with new stances. The research question here is what prompts parties to change. The paper shows that parties adjust their issue positions more often after failures than after successes. Losing parties, as well as parties who face deteriorating real-world conditions, adopt more utopian issue positions. Parties adjust their issue positions in response to conflict and cooperation, and to the issue positions of other parties. The longitudinal research model is tested for six national election campaigns in the Netherlands from 1994 until 2010. The data about gains and losses, real-world conditions, issue positions, and conflict and cooperation to estimate the parameters of the adaptation model come from a daily content analysis of newspaper and television news during the months preceding the elections.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Top 2011 Best Poster awards: second place
Proceedings title: Paper presented at the Proceedings of 2011 61st Annual Conference of the International Communication Association, Boston (USA).
Place of publication: Boston (USA)

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