Explaining Europe’s transformed electoral landscape: structure, salience, and agendas

Dennison, James ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3090-7124 and Kriesi, Hanspeter (2023) Explaining Europe’s transformed electoral landscape: structure, salience, and agendas. European Political Science Review, 15 (4). pp. 483-501. ISSN 1755-7739

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What has caused the marked, cross-national, and unprecedented trends in European electoral results in the 21st century? Scholarly explanations include social structure and challenger party entrepreneurship. We argue that these electoral changes more proximally result from public issue salience, which results from societal trends and mainly affects rather than is caused by party agenda setting. We use aggregate-level panel data across 28 European countries to show that the public issue salience of three issues—unemployment, immigration, and the environment—is associated with later variation in the results of the conservative, social democrat, liberal, radical right, radical left, and green party families in theoretically expected directions, while the party system issue agenda has weaker associations. Public issue salience, in turn, is rooted in societal trends (unemployment rates, immigration rates and temperature anomalies), and, in some cases, party agenda setting. We validate our mechanism at the individual-level across 28 European countries and using UK panel data. Our findings have implications for our understanding of the agency of parties, the permanency of recent electoral changes, and how voters reconcile their social and political worlds.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgements: This study was made possible by generous funding from the Leverhulme Trust (grant number: ECF-2021-342), the Swedish Research Council (grant number: 2019-00504) and the European Research Council (ERC_SYG_2018 grant no. 810356).
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 8 - decent work and economic growth,sdg 10 - reduced inequalities ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/decent_work_and_economic_growth
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2023 11:30
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:20
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/92942
DOI: 10.1017/S1755773923000085


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