Party Policy and Public Opinion Shifts in Central and Eastern Europe

14.05.2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Raimondas Ibenskas
Lecturer affiliation: 
University of Southampton

Theories of party responsiveness in established democracies suggest that parties follow shifts in the preferences of either the general electorate or party supporters. We argue that the party competition and electoral contexts in post- communist democracies create incentives for parties to respond only to their supporters. Such responsiveness occurs in two ways. First, similarly to niche parties in established democracies, parties in post-communist democracies follow shifts in the preferences of their supporters. Second, drawing on the research on party- voter congruence, we argue that parties adjust their policy positions to eliminate previous incongruence between themselves and their supporters. Analyses based on a comprehensive dataset that uses expert surveys, parties’ manifestoes and election surveys to measure parties’ positions and several cross-national and national surveys to measure voters’ preferences provide strong support for this argument.