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Political Parties and Democratic LinkageHow Parties Organize Democracy$
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Russell J. Dalton, David M. Farrell, and Ian McAllister

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599356

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199599356.001.0001

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Citizens and their Policy Preferences

Citizens and their Policy Preferences

(p.80) (p.81) 4 Citizens and their Policy Preferences
Political Parties and Democratic Linkage

Russell J. Dalton

David M. Farrell

Ian McAllister

Oxford University Press

This chapter is the first of three that examine the link between voters' preferences and their party choices in elections. It shows how citizens' political preferences and policy choices can be summarized by their positions on the Left-Right dimension. It begins by discussing the concept of policy voting and the use of the Left-Right framework to capture this process. It then examines whether most voters can position themselves on the Left-Right scale, and how they are distributed along this continuum in the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) nations. Next, it considers the bases of these orientations in terms of social structure, political issues, and partisanship. The results provide a foundation for using Left-Right congruence to measure the workings of the party linkage model through the electoral process.

Keywords:   political preferences, policy choice, policy voting, voters, social structure, partisanship, Left-Right dimension, Comparative Study of Electoral Systems

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