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.
La course au centre
Policy Convergence and Partisanship in France, 1981-2002
Wähler als Wandervögel: Dealignment and the German Voter
Russell J. Dalton and Wilhelm Bürklin
The 2002 Bundestag elections demonstrate the emerging new style
of German electoral politics. Where once party competition was
built upon a stable base of Stammwähler, the catchword for 2002 was
the Wechselwähler—the changing voter. The traditional bonds to social
groups, such as class and religion, have steadily eroded across Bundestag
elections in the late twentieth century, and these bonds had a
diminished impact in 2002. Similarly, this chapter will demonstrate
that affective psychological ties that once connected citizens to their
preferred party have also weakened. Certainly some German voters
remain connected to a social milieu or a habitual party tie, but the
number of these voters is steadily decreasing.
Voter Registration Cards, Political Subjectivity, and Trust in Paper in the Gambia
This article examines the voter registration card and the social context of voter registrations in the Gambia, West Africa. Drawing on recent ethnographies of documents and using data on worries over foreigners’ efforts to fraudulently obtain voter registration cards, a public information campaign on the Gambian electoral process, international legal material on the Gambian democracy, and observations at voter registration stations, the article argues that the voter registration card delineates not only a national subject but also a generic political subject. This subject is characterized by a commitment to a bureaucratic process and an appreciation of the card as an official identification document inseparable from the person it identifies. The article also considers how the voter registration process allows Gambians to compare their experiences to citizens of other countries. In a political context of an authoritarian government and a weak rule of law, this comparison offers an ideal of a modern democratic state that both enables criticism of the Gambia’s present situation and confirms the centrality of a generic political subject to the realization of that ideal.
The Election Campaign: Political Actors, the Media and Voters
An electoral campaign is a complex process in which political
actors interact with the mass media in order to orient the voting
preferences and choices of the electorate. It is presumed – but cannot
be taken for granted – that the election campaign is the period
in which the use of propaganda and various forms of political
communication is at its peak. In fact, the interaction between
media and politics has long since become a structural given of contemporary
democracies,1 and periods in which significant political
communication campaigns are developed form part of a cycle that
has become independent of electoral deadlines. It can even be
hypothesised that election campaigns are becoming an ‘internal
moment’ of these larger cycles during which the climate of opinion
that is asserted compromises the election result, sometimes
anticipating the election outcome by even several months.
Setting a Trend?
Support for the Greens and the FDP in the 2021 Bundestag Election
Andreas M. Wüst
happened spontaneously, but must have been planned at least some days before the election. The meeting and the uniform mode and content of communication (mainly directed at younger voters) were clever strategic moves of the two prospective coalition
’Tis but a Habit in an Unconsolidated Democracy
Habitual Voting, Political Alienation and Spectatorship
Anthony Lawrence A. Borja
way to evaluate the progress of a democratisation project is by looking at the development of this civic practice in terms of both quantity (voter turnout) and quality (voters’ preferences). Focusing on the former, specifically the impact of political
The Left Party and the AfD
Populist Competitors in Eastern Germany
than it did in 2013 and saw its voter share rise in the western states by almost 2.5 percent. It netted an additional five members of parliament (MdBs) as a result of the election and won five direct mandates (four in Berlin, one in Leipzig). Seen from
A Tale of Two Electorates?
The 2021 Federal Election and the AfD Voter in East and West
Michael A. Hansen and Jonathan Olsen
easterners see the party as representing “their” interests. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that the AfD has been much more attractive to eastern German voters than western German voters. The party is also without doubt a “populist competitor” in the East to
“Revenge of the East”?
The AfD's Appeal in Eastern Germany and Mainstream Parties’ Responses
Jennifer A. Yoder
, the AfD won support from 1.2 million previous nonvoters. 2 As a proportion of previous vote share, die Linke, lost the most support to the AfD; about one in ten of its voters switched to the AfD. These patterns were largely replicated in the May
The Enduring Effect of Immigration Attitudes on Vote Choice
Evidence from the 2021 German Federal Election
Hannah M. Alarian
support for their xenophobic and racist message from an ideologically diverse electorate as early as 2013. 2 German far-right parties, eternally stoking immigration fears, sought to capitalize on such movements to court non-voters ( Nichtwähler ) and