How do established voters react to new parties? : the case of Italy, 1985-2008
Title: How do established voters react to new parties? : the case of Italy, 1985-2008
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ltd
Citation: Electoral studies, 2012, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 297-305
ISSN: 0261-3794; 1873-6890
The Italian party system largely collapsed in the early 1990s, providing us with a natural experimental situation in which voters were confronted with new parties - indeed, with an entirely new party system. How did they react? This paper develops a number of expectations on the basis of existing theory and tests these expectations using a dataset consisting of election studies conducted in Italy between 1985 and 2008. We find that a new party system causes confusion as to where parties stand in left-right terms, making it difficult for voters to make their choices on the basis of ideological cues. The confusion is greatest among older voters - those already set in their habits of voting, but only the very oldest cohorts (containing voters over 60 years old) are significantly debilitated. (C) 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Subject: Party system breakdown; New parties; Electoral cohort; Ideology; Perceptual agreement; Italy; Extreme-right; system; competition; europe; positions; elections; hungary; western; choice; east
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