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Linking Citizens and PartiesHow Electoral Systems Matter for Political Representation$
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Lawrence Ezrow

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572526

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572526.001.0001

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Proximity and Votes for Mainstream and Niche Parties

Proximity and Votes for Mainstream and Niche Parties

(p.82) 5 Proximity and Votes for Mainstream and Niche Parties
Linking Citizens and Parties

Lawrence Ezrow (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Cross‐sectional analyses of parties' vote shares in twelve Western European democracies are presented, which produce two central findings. The first is that parties, in general, gain more vote shares when they are positioned closer to the centre of public opinion. This finding is labeled the Mainstream Party Centrism Result, and is consistent with previous macro‐level empirical research on the effects of Left–Right policy positioning in multiparty systems (Ezrow 2005). The second and central finding of the chapter is the Niche Party Radicalism Result. This result states that radical niche parties receive more popular support than niche parties positioned nearer to the center of the Left–Right dimension. Thus, the relationship between party proximity and vote share for mainstream parties is completely opposite to that of niche parties.

Keywords:   party proximity, mean voter, Downs, spatial model, party competition, elections, vote share, niche, mainstream, eurobarometer, party positions

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