Anna Adendorf
Talk Dirty to Me. Coalition Signals throughout the Electoral Cycle

Dreiländertagung DVPW, ÖGPW, SVPW, Zürich, February 14th to February 16th, 2019

With coalition governments being the norm in proportional systems, parties announce their mating preferences during the electoral campaign, i.e., they send coalition signals in order to present voters with a viable choice. When and how parties signal their preferred coalitions is of particular interest to our understanding of dynamics in multi-party politics. We expect there to be different patterns throughout the electoral cycle. Parties will send more signals during the campaign compared to during the term in order to increase their chances of being voted into office. During the legislative term, parties will send mostly negative signals towards each other in order to put themselves in a favourable position. The coalition members will deviate from this pattern by sending more positive signals to one another in an attempt to protect government unity. I test these expectations using quantitative text analysis of more than 13,000 press releases published by the German party groups between 2002 and 2005. The findings reveal parties' strategies of communicating their coalition preferences throughout the whole electoral cycle in proportional systems.