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The role of policy issues in vote choice.

>It is reasonable to state that the view on policy is determined by Party Identification but at the same time it might be conditioned by circumstances of life(rural vs urban), religion, income, level of information (and etc) about the issue and also the kind of the policy (domestic vs foreign).
>New interpretation of Michigan school: policy issues might be important when it comes to voting.
>Rural vs urban: rural area voters primarily concern themselves with domestic issues.
> Religious individuals are likely to vote in favor of a policy complying with their values (Catholics against legalization of abortion). It also means that it can make people for mainly not FOR a certain policy, but AGAINST it, by choosing other candidates.
>Income: given that human nature makes people self-centered (as they are instinctively driven by reflex of self-preservation), people are likely to vote for those, who will satisfy them the most (low income votes Democratic, high income votes Republican).
Different models:
> Sociological: not inherited family values but belonging to a social group with salient socio-economic preferences. Person will vote on certain issues with regard to the views of the group (gender, religion, ethnicity, class) to which he belongs.
> Rational-choice: voter will value his preferences above collective ones and will vote according to his interests
> Dominant ideology : issues indicated will not be of great importance as the voter will make his choice being influenced by ideological manipulation
Issue voting more often happens among well informed individuals. It also depends both on the candidate and individual: the more clear a candidate’s position on an issue is, the more votes he will mobilize.
>Also depends on the kind of the issue: “easy issues”, where end are more clear and seem to be more important than means (racial desegregation) are likely to obtain more votes.
Policy issues (especially if they are clear) might affect the voter so that he even changes his party identification (in case there is at least one issue which seems of particular importance to him).
> Values of the generation of new (younger) voters changed= they depend less on party ID and express discontent with policy which results in decreased trust to political parties and government.
> Voters can be manipulated by parties who can mobilize votes by concentrating their attention on an issue of particular importance to the general public at particular time: in the 60s civil rights were of great importance. Thus, many people supported Republicans, who better protected these rights.

 

Realignment vs. dealignment.
o Realignment: occur when political parties gain a stable support at a different level from previously. Emergence of an issue or a cleavage resulting in changes in party support structures

o Dealignment: there is no more stability. Social groups and individuals will change their votes quite easily depending on the context; weakening of the traditional partisan ties



- Alignments are interesting because not only do they describe the stability, but they also have led to new notions such as realignment, which describe some specific context in which the alignment of one specific social group is switching its support from one party to another

o Within a period of time, you come from a situation where you had a social group broadly supporting some political party and the support is quickly eroding b/c of the changes within the social group or because of changes between the relationship between social group and political party

o New alignment of social groups for a new political party à this can be a truly new political party, or the switch can be for a party that already existed but was not previously supported by this social group

Part I: Process and explanation of realignment

- In looking at the process of realignment, it is important to consider the reasons behind these changes from one part to another.

- The change of a large bloc of voters that traditionally votes for one party to support a different party can be explained by:

o War periods have a significant effect on voting à there are a great many changes among many European countries before and after war

o Social issues: civil rights – change of vote traditions

o New cleavages create new divisions ; New generations; New/search for alternatives or different approaches

o Current issues in the society

- Lipset and Rokkan: social construction of cleavages – evolution of social conflicts led to constructions of organizations, identities, and long-lasting divides

- Example: Realignment in France after the war (1946-1982/84): short-lived realignment

o Unsatisfied with the new forms of de Gaulle, they began to look for new approaches

o New prosperity destroyed the revolutionary appeal of the Communists à led them to a more reformist approach to political problems

o Fifth Republic, emergence of the new Gaullist party – identified themselves w/ the technicians, against the parties of the past. Most of their support comes from people who in 1958 voted for parties of the right à rapid decline of center right parties

o The two 5th Republic elections reveal a sustained decline for the parties of the left, and a concentration in 1962 of right-wing voters behind the Gaullist party

o Progressive decline of the communist party à realignment; surge of National Front and the realignment of the working class

Part II: Process and explanation of dealignment

- When people switch to making their vote choices completely independent of party identifications, there is said to be dealignment

- This is different from realignment because unlike with realignment, the voter no longer identifies specifically with one party over another in dealignment. Rather, they make their vote choices based on specific issues or other factors

- The process by which voters become more and more independent of political parties. They become increasingly able to switch from one party to the other

o Weakening of class identities

o Often associated with the change in social structures

- In Europe, there is more widespread dealignment, less party identification – the greater number of parties in Europe makes it easier to go from party to party depending on the issues, depending on the political orientation

- This move away from party identification can be attributed to:

o Social structures – the familial structure is declining, and previously, the family played an important part in determining the party identification (children will vote the same way as their parents)

o Socialization is less cohesive and there is a much wider range of influences, so cleavages are stronger and identification is weaker

o The parties are also more and more adjoined on main issues, so because of this consensus, there are fewer differences and people stray from one party to another since the views of the parties are more similar

o Many people will also consider the state of the political system before voting; people are becoming more and more critical of government and politics à non-expression of long-term alignments

- Contemporary evolutions

o Still frozen interpretation: left/right cleavage is the most relevant, and the new issues will be divided on a left/right standpoint

o Thawing interpretation: new cleavages, parties, shifts can lead to a new structuring of the system

Conclusion

- This question of realignment or dealignment poses a great debate of whether or not there is stability in elections
=For Europe: freezing hypothesis—not much has changed since the 1920s – the centuries of politics have been structured by more or less the same cleavages by the same parties

 


Date: 2015-12-24; view: 204


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