Is Governing Becoming More Contentious?
Title: Is Governing Becoming More Contentious?
Author: MAIR, Peter
Citation: Martin ROSEMA, Bas DENTERS and Kees AARTS (eds), How Democracy Works: Political Representation and Policy Congruence in Modern Societies, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press, Pallas Publications, 2011, 77-86
For a variety of reasons, political parties in European democracies are now more likely to be judged on how they govern rather than on the substantive policy programmes that they advocate. This is likely to have a number of systemic consequences. First, party competition is now more likely to be bipolar, with voters more likely to be offered a clear choice between Ins and Outs. Second, more votes will be exchanged across the government and opposition divide, with the result that levels of incumbency volatility will be likely to rise. Third, because of its increasing relative importance, the government-opposition dimension will also account for a growing share of the total votes that are in competition. These hypotheses are tested with simple aggregate data on electoral volatility.
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