Left-right self-identification and (post)materialism in the ideological space; their effect on the vote in the Netherlands
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors show that left-right self-identification is associated with the two dimensions comprising the "ideological space": socio-economic (egalitarian) left right ad politico-cultural libertarianism-authoritarianism.
Abstract: Left-right self-identification appears to be associated in the Dutch electorate with the two dimensions comprising the ‘ideological space’: socio-economic (egalitarian) left-right ad politico-cultural libertarianism-authoritarianism. This study shows the stable two-dimensionality of this ‘space’. Thus, left-right self-identification seems to lack unambiguous content validity. It is only the best predictor of the vote if the parties are ordered according to the mean positions of their supporters on the socio-economic left-right ideological dimension. When the parties are ordered along the other dimension of the space (the libertarian-authoritarian dimension), religion (church attendance) proves to be the best predictor. Religion and authoritarianism prove to be stronger predictors of left-right self-identification rather than social class and socio-economic left-right ideology. (Post)materialism only plays a modest role regarding predicting either the left-right or the authoritarian vote, although this construct overlaps with libertarian-authoritarian ideology (e.g. Flanagan, 1987). Thus, neither left-right self-identification nor (post)materialism seem fruitful approaches to the realm of ideology and values. The results of this study challenge both for example, the Niemoller-Van der Eijk (1987) position on left-right self-identification and the Van Deth-Geurts (1989) position on (post)materialism.
TL;DR: The authors examined the meaning of the left-right self-placement scale from the early 1970s to 1990, and found that the meanings of left and right changed during the last twenty years.
Abstract: . Have the meanings of ‘left’ and ‘right’ changed during the last twenty years? In this article the ten-point left-right self-placement scale is correlated with three central value orientations (religious/secular, economic left-right and materialist/post-materialist values) to examine whether associations between these value orientations and the self-placement scale have changed from the early 1970s to 1990. Four theories about the changing meaning of the left-right language are presented. These theories about the irrelevance, persistence, transformation and pluralisation of the meaning of left and right are tested by using Eurobarometer data from eight West European countries and the second wave of the European Value Study from 1990. The data provide strong support for pluralisation theory. Left-right semantics have an impressive absorptive power, describing an over-arching spatial dimension capable of incorporating many types of conflict. Left-right semantics are significantly correlated with religious/secular values, remain highly correlated with the dominant industrial value orientations (economic left-right values), and are increasingly associated with materialist/post-materialist value orientations. The new meanings of left and right are added to the old meanings.
TL;DR: The authors argue that voters will give more weight to observable actions than to promises in updating their perceptions of the policy positions of political parties that participate in coalition cabinets, and they find robust support for these propositions using an individual level data set constructed from 54 electoral surveys in 18 European countries.
Abstract: Recent scholarship in comparative political behavior has begun to address how voters in coalitional systems manage the complexity of those environments. We contribute to this emerging literature by asking how voters update their perceptions of the policy positions of political parties that participate in coalition cabinets. In contrast to previous work on the sources of voter perceptions of party ideology in parliamentary systems, which has asked how voters respond to changes in party manifestos (i.e., promises), we argue that in updating their perceptions, voters will give more weight to observable actions than to promises. Further, coalition participation is an easily observed party action that voters use as a heuristic to infer the direction of policy change in the absence of detailed information about parties’ legislative records. Specifically, we propose that all voters should perceive parties in coalition cabinets as more ideologically similar, but that this tendency will be muted for more politically interested voters (who have greater access to countervailing messages from parties). Using an individual-level data set constructed from 54 electoral surveys in 18 European countries, we find robust support for these propositions.
TL;DR: The authors analyzes the structuring of party systems of four East Central European countries and analyzes socio-political attitudes as predictors of ideological orientations, both on mass and elite level.
Abstract: This article analyzes the structuring of party systems of four East Central European countries. At the outset an assumption is proposed that the region is by no means homogeneous (as is often treated) but exhibits different levels of ideological articulation and party formation. First, we concentrate on the left-right ideological identities and its' attitudinal-issue correlates as well as the social roots of left-right ideological orientations. The main part deals with socio-political attitudes as predictors of ideological orientations, both on mass and elite level. The results indicate different levels of ideological structuration and political divisions of the party systems in Eastern Europe, which are explained not only by socio-economic factors, but mainly by varying experiences of pre-communist rule, communist governance and pathways to democracy.
TL;DR: This paper conducted a quasi-experimental analysis of the relationship between the left-right self-identification and policy preferences of Germany's electorate, and found that respondents from East and West Germany are more likely to understand the term "left" in socio-economic terms.
Abstract: This paper utilises survey data from the 1999 European Value Study to conduct a quasi-experimental analysis of the relationship between the left–right self-identification and policy preferences of Germany's electorate. Given the German division until 1990 it is plausible that citizens from East and West Germany had different ideological socialisation experiences swayed by the political discourse of their times. This paper models the influence of this diverse experience on ideological thinking, and examines the effects on the understanding of political issues. The findings suggest that differences do exist in the ideological consistency and attitude structuring of respondents. Compared to respondents in the West, East Germans are more likely to understand the term ‘left’ in socio-economic terms. On the other hand, they seem to connect the term ‘right’ rather to xenophobic issues. These results have crucial implications for political communication in representative democracies, as they question the one-leve...
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors test the possible existence of the "centrist exceptionalism" by testing whether citizens locate themselves on the centre because of the party component, the lack of political sophistication or the salience given to postmaterialist values.
Abstract: Why do people locate themselves on the centre? In parallel with the debate about which components prevail when citizens locate themselves on the left-right scale, some research has put forward some hypotheses that could explain centrist self-location. However, our knowledge about centrist placement is still surprisingly low, although it is the most numerous position in almost all the countries. This article tests the possible existence of the \centrist exceptionalism" by testing whether citizens locate themselves on the centre because of the party component, the lack of political sophistication or the salience given to postmaterialist values. The analysis is performed in 52 elections in 21 dierent countries. It reveals that, above all, the centre position is genuine, which implies that people locate themselves there because it is simply a position between what left and right stand for. Findings in this article have implications for our understanding of the left-rigt axis and its role in party competition.
01 Jan 1977
TL;DR: The authors argued that while most major political parties in Western countries tend to be aligned along a social class-based axis, support for new political movements and new political parties largely reflects the tension between materialist and postmaterialist goals and values.
Abstract: Ronald Inglehart has argued that, while most of the major political parties in Western countries tend to be aligned along a social class–based axis, support for new political movements and new political parties largely reflects the tension between materialist and postmaterialist goals and values. This has presented something of a dilemma to the traditional parties, and helps account for the decline of social-class voting. Scott Flanagan takes issue with Inglehart's interpretation in several particulars. Although their views converge in many respects, Flanagan urges conceptual reorientations and adumbrates a different interpretation of post–World War II political development in Europe and Japan.
01 Jan 1971
TL;DR: In this article, an alternative theory of value change is presented, contrasting Inglehart's "needs theory" approach with a "functional constraints" theoretic construct, and it is demonstrated that these two subdimensions have sharply contrasting properties in both their causal origins and behavioral prop...
Abstract: Ronald Inglehart has demonstrated the important political and behavioral implications of value change in advanced industrial societies. In an effort to enhance our understanding of this politically relevant “silent revolution,” an alternate theory of value change is presented, contrasting Inglehart's “needs theory” approach with a “functional constraints” theoretic construct. It is then argued that both kinds of value change are taking place, the first a change in the priorities attached to economic as opposed to noneconomic, value issues as measured by a materialism-nonmaterialism scale, and the second a change in basic social value preferences as measured by an authoritarian-libertarian scale. It is further argued that Inglehart's acquisitive-postbourgeois value scale combines both of these value priority and value preference dimensions. Relying primarily on Japanese data, it is demonstrated that these two subdimensions have sharply contrasting properties in both their causal origins and behavioral prop...
TL;DR: In the early stages of industrial society, economic factors tend to play a dominant role in early stages, in advanced industrial society their relative importance diminishes; and self-expression, "belonging" and the quality of the physical and social environment become increasingly important.
Abstract: Throughout this century, the Marxist Left in Europe has emphasized an economic interpretation of history, with state ownership of the means of production as the key element in their prescription for society. Political polarization is depicted as a direct reflection of social class conflict, with the working class the natural base of support for the Left. This diagnosis has become increasingly out of touch with reality in recent years, which have seen the decline of orthodox Marxist parties in Western Europe and the diminishing credibility of the ideology on which they are based. For as advanced industrial society emerges, economic determinism provides a progressively less adequate analysis of society, and class-based parties and the policies they advocate become less central to politics. Economic development reduces the impact of economic determinism. Though economic factors tend to play a dominant role in the early stages of industrial society, in advanced industrial society their relative importance diminishes; and self-expression, ‘belonging’ and the quality of the physical and social environment become increasingly important.
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