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Legitimacy from above: the partisan foundations of support for the political system in democracies

Anderson, Christopher J. ORCID: 0000-0003-3198-4172 and Just, Aida (2013) Legitimacy from above: the partisan foundations of support for the political system in democracies. European Political Science Review, 5 (3). 335 - 362. ISSN 1755-7739

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S1755773912000082


We investigate the partisan foundations of political legitimacy. We argue that the goals parties pursue shape their supporters' views about the political system via the messages they communicate about the desirability of the political system. Combining public opinion survey data collected in 15 democracies with data on the goal orientations and policy positions of 116 political parties, we find that office-seeking parties take more positive positions toward the status quo of the political regime than policy-seeking parties. Moreover, we find that these positions have consequences. Specifically, supporters of parties with more positive positions toward the system report systematically higher levels of support than supporters of parties that communicate more negative views. Taken together, these findings suggest that political parties play an active role in shaping citizens' views of the political system and that office-seeking parties in particular mobilize consent among citizens in contemporary democracies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 European Consortium for Political Research
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2019 13:33
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2024 08:29

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