When Extremism Pays: Policy Positions, Voter Certainty, and Party Support in Postcommunist Europe

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Authors EzrowLawrence, HomolaJonathan, TavitsMargit
Journal/Conference Name THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract We argue that extreme positioning benefits parties in new democracies, because—given the lack of other reliable cues such as party histories—the distinctiveness of their left-right policy positions increases voter certainty about parties’ identities and intentions in office. Cross-sectional analyses provide evidence that, in the new democracies of postcommunist Europe, parties that are farther away from the mean voter position gain more popular support than those moderately positioned along a policy continuum. In established democracies, by contrast, policy moderation increases popular support. We also find empirical support for the proposed causal mechanism that links policy positions to popular support via voter certainty. These findings have implications for party strategies, spatial theories, and our understanding of political representation in new democracies.
Date of publication 2014
Code Programming Language R

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