The Consequences of a Multidimensional Political Space for Issue Ownership Voting

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
WMP Yudowitz Seminar Room 1 (University of Glasgow)
Simon Lanz , University of Geneva
Nathalie Giger , Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Geneva
The transformation of political competition in a multidimensional political space has consequences for our understanding of issue ownership theory. Do citizens still vote for the party that they see as most competent even if the individual’s most important issue is not in the primary axis of party competition? How do individuals bring together different information on party location and issue emphasis, especially if these information do no match up? And how do these developments influence party competition? We posit that party location and party issue emphasis are both influential for electoral behaviour but that the weight of these cues differs according to the nature of political competition, the strength of a second dimension in particular. This has consequences for the way parties compete with each other.

In this paper we bridge two literatures that are rarely brought together but can very fruitfully be combined to study party competition and electoral behaviour in our view. Empirically, we adapt a comparative focus and link individual survey data (CSES) with information on party location and issue attention in 22 democracies.