Comparing Party System Change by Jan-Erik Lane, Paul Pennings

By Jan-Erik Lane, Paul Pennings

This quantity brings jointly comparative stories and in-depth case reviews that study the variety of get together approach swap in Europe. In so doing it provides a version for switch which demanding situations orthodox perspectives of political evolution.

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Micro-level: the floating electorate The evidence is clear cut, pointing to a long-term rise in electoral instability in Western European countries. The data on the electorate that we consulted—party switching, gross volatility—display increasing signs of instability. More people change their party 30 ELECTORAL INSTABILITY AND PARTY SYSTEM CHANGE allegiance from one election to another. At the macro-level the scores of net volatility are up. Many people do not even decide what to vote for until the day before the election, at least so it seems.

1984:451) Thus the Scandinavian experience supports the de-alignment hypothesis; not only is it the case that gross and net voter volatility has reached very high levels, but in remaining there, this great volatility is also showing that the traditional cleavage pattern for aligning the voter groups behind a special political party has not remained intact during the recent political turbulence (Lane et al. 1993: 226–7). However, in addition to these two hypotheses a third one may be developed, suggesting that there are periods of stability followed by periods of instability.

At best one can say that what we have are a set of estimates of individual level electoral change over time in some Western European countries. 1). It is evident that party switching varies between countries, and Austria and Germany seems to belong to the set of countries with a relatively stable electorate. One may also note that gross volatility and overall volatility is something quite different from party switching when it comes to numbers. When talking about volatility at the individual level it is necessary to distinguish between various paths of electoral change.

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