Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik, Martin Haselmayer, Lena Maria Huber, Martin Fenz
Who talks about what? Issue strategies across the party hierarchy

European Journal of Political Research, 2022: 61, issue 3, pp. 842–852
ISSN: 1475-6765 (e-only)

We combine the recent literature on issue competition with work on intra-party heterogeneity to advance a novel theoretical argument. Starting from the premise that party leaders and non-leaders have different motivations and incentives, we conjecture that issue strategies should vary across the party hierarchy. We, therefore, expect systematic intra-party differences in the use of riding the wave and issue ownership strategies. We test this claim by linking public opinion data to manually coded information on over 3600 press releases issued by over 500 party actors across five election campaigns in Austria between 2006 and 2019. We account for self-selection into leadership roles by exploiting transitions into and out of leadership status over time. The results show that party leaders are more likely than non-leaders to respond to the public's issue priorities, but not more or less likely to pursue issue-ownership strategies.