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Political Choice MattersExplaining the Strength of Class and Religious Cleavages in Cross-National Perspective$
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Geoffrey Evans and Nan Dirk de Graaf

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199663996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199663996.001.0001

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Measuring Party Positions

Measuring Party Positions

(p.27) 2 Measuring Party Positions
Political Choice Matters

Ryan Bakker

Sara Hobolt

Oxford University Press

The study of how party competition affects vote choices requires valid and reliable measures of the policy positions of political parties. This chapter compares the three most commonly used measures of party positions in comparative research, namely Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP) data, party expert surveys, and voter surveys. Additional attention is devoted to how scholars can make better use of the CMP data to develop time-series measurements of party positions. The chapter presents an innovative approach to the construction of scales for left-right, libertarian-authoritarian and the European integration dimensions using CMP data. The cross-validations of the different manifesto and survey measures are encouraging since they demonstrate that despite the variation in the construction of these measures they provide very similar rankings of parties on a left-right dimension.

Keywords:   party positions, measurement, comparative manifesto project, left-right, expert survey

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