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Political Choice in Britain$
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Harold D. Clarke, David Sanders, Marianne C. Stewart, and Paul Whiteley

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244881

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2004

DOI: 10.1093/019924488X.001.0001

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The Dynamics of Party Identification

The Dynamics of Party Identification

(p.175) SIX The Dynamics of Party Identification
Political Choice in Britain

Harold D. Clarke (Contributor Webpage)

David Sanders (Contributor Webpage)

Marianne C. Stewart (Contributor Webpage)

Paul Whiteley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Addresses important theoretical questions that arise from analyses in Chs 3 and 4 documenting that party identification is a powerful predictor of electoral preference. According to sociological models, party identification is a long-term, stable, affective orientation, whereas for models in the individual rationality framework, party identification is a summary, potentially mutable, tally of current and past party performance evaluations. Analyses of individual-level panel data show that, since the early 1960s, there has been considerable individual-level instability in party identification in Britain, and that this instability is not simply an artefact of random measurement error. Analyses of panel data and aggregate-level time series data also reveal that partisan dynamics reflect judgements about party leader performance and economic evaluations–key variables in the valence politics model of party support.

Keywords:   age cohorts, ARFIMA models, dealignment, MMLC models, partisan instability, realignment

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