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When Do Issue Opinions Matter, and to Whom? The Determinants of Long-Term Stability and Change in Party Choice in the 2003 Swiss Elections

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Published in Swiss Political Science Review. 2006, vol. 12, no. 4, p. 159-190
Abstract While various studies have highlighted the short-term importance of issue-voting for party choice, little attention has so far been paid to its long-term relevance. Relying on longitudinal data from the 2003 Swiss federal elections, we examine under what circumstances issue-specific considerations affect stability and change in party choice. We postulate that the impact of issue-specific considerations is likely to vary depending on a set of mediating factors. Analyzing four mechanisms of stability and change (reinforcement, activation, conversion, and demobilization), we find first that issues matter more when they are pressing, central, and polarizing. Furthermore, issue positions affect the vote more significantly for the parties that are more profiled on them. These results are in line with those on short-term effects. However, they reveal a stronger influence of shifts in issue opinions in the long-term than in the short-term. Finally, we do not find any substantial variations in the effect of issue preferences across individual characteristics (political sophistication and party identification).
Keywords Issue votingStability and change in party choiceSwitzerland
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NICOLET, Sarah, SCIARINI, Pascal. When Do Issue Opinions Matter, and to Whom? The Determinants of Long-Term Stability and Change in Party Choice in the 2003 Swiss Elections. In: Swiss Political Science Review, 2006, vol. 12, n° 4, p. 159-190. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:38834

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Deposited on : 2014-07-22

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