Party Policy Ambiguity and its Consequences for Political Representation and Satisfaction with Democracy

Research question/goal: 

Political parties often take ambiguous policy stances. This project investigates how citizens respond to them in three ways: Under what circumstance do citizens realize that a party’s policy stances are ambiguous? To what extent does this affect citizens’ vote choices? And do citizens feel more or less represented by ambiguous parties?

To answer these questions, we conduct survey experiments and comparative surveys in multiple European democracies.

Our results contribute to our understanding of how democracies can generate democratic representation. In particular, we provide novel insights on when elections, i.e., the key mechanism that is meant to ensure that democracies represent its citizens well, are actually able to foster democratic representation. At the same time, we learn whether the use of ambiguous policy stances takes a toll on citizens’ satisfaction with democracy.

Fact sheet

MZES; Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
2022 to 2024
in preparation
Data Sources: 
Comparative surveys and survey experiments
Geographic Space: 
Several European countries