What this Election is About: Issue-Emphasis Strategies in an Uncertain Electoral Environment

10.10.2022 - 12:00 bis 13:30
A 5,6 Raum A 231 and online via Zoom
Art der Veranstaltung: 
AB B-Kolloquium
Roi Zur
Zugehörigkeit des Vortragenden: 
University of Essex

Parties competing for votes may find it less risky to shift their issue emphases than their issue positions. We analyze parties’ issue emphasis strategies as they confront uncertainty over their opponents’ emphasis strategies and the media’s issue focus, along with added uncertainty over how voters use issues to evaluate parties. Empirical applications to German national election surveys from 2013 to 2021 suggest that the German Greens and the Alternative for Germany had dominant strategies to emphasize their core issues -- the environment and immigration, respectively -- and only those issues. In some cases, the remaining German parties lacked clear incentives about which issues to emphasize but were motivated to avoid certain issues. In several cases, incentives varied greatly in strength or reversed direction over elections. Our findings illuminate mainstream parties’ issue emphases in an uncertain environment, as well as niche parties’ strategic decisions about whether to extend their focus beyond their core issues.