Policy convergence between the political parties and the perception among voters that there is little to choose between left and right may be factors in the declining levels of partisanship observed in many advanced industrial democracies, including France, where these conditions emerged in the 1980s. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this article analyzes changes in the actual and perceived level of convergence between the mainstream parties in France from 1981 to 2002. It finds evidence of increasing policy convergence over the period as a result of a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors. It concludes that left-right ideological labels are still important to voters, even though they too have moved to the center, and that many of them want to see a clear dividing-line between the parties. The blurring of the boundaries between left and right and the “reversibility” of the mainstream parties has also enhanced the appeal of alternative and extremist parties.
Policy Convergence and Partisanship in France, 1981-2002
Steven Weldon and Andrea Nüsser
Although characterized by widespread public apathy and record low voter turnout, the 2009 Bundestag election solidified a stable, but fluid five-party system that will likely be a defining feature of German political life for the next generation. The three minor parties each achieved historical bests at the polls with steep losses for the two traditional Volksparteien. Drawing on data from the German Longitudinal Electoral Study (GLES), this article examines the nature of this new five-party system with a closer look at each party's voters in the 2009 election. The analysis shows the breadth and stability of the five-party system—each party draws significant support across all sixteen Länder; and, despite a growing number of swing voters, each party has a core group of committed voters that alone exceeds the 5 percent national electoral threshold. We also find evidence that the increased volatility and fluidity of the party system is structured along the left-right ideological spectrum with the parties divided into two major camps and vote-switching much more likely within the respective camps rather than between them.
Foreign Policy Beliefs and German Parliamentarians’ Support for European Integration
A. Burcu Bayram
Integration: An Empirical Test of Five Theories,” British Journal of Political Science 37, no. 1 (2007): 89–114; Matthew Gabel and John Huber, “Putting Parties in Their Place: Inferring Party Left– Right Ideological Positions from Party Manifestos Data
The Alternative for Germany and Attitudes toward Migration Policy
Hannah M. Alarian
.006 (0.008) Religiosity 0.014 (0.011) 0.011 (0.011) 0.024 * (0.010) Left-Right Ideology -0.030 (0.020) -0.038 + (0.020) -0.042 ** (0.011) Constant 0.040 (0.026) -0.010 (0.030) 0.011 (0.027) State Fixed Effects