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When dimensions collide: the electoral success of issue entrepreneurs

Hobolt, Sara and de Vries, Catherine E. (2012) When dimensions collide: the electoral success of issue entrepreneurs. European Union Politics, 13 (2). pp. 246-268. ISSN 1465-1165

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1465116511434788


Theories of issue evolution and issue manipulation suggest that ‘political losers’ in the party system can advance their position by introducing a new issue dimension. According to these theories, this strategy of issue entrepreneurship, i.e. the attempt to restructure political competition by mobilizing a previously non-salient issue dimension, allows political losers to attract new voters and reap electoral gains. In this study, we examine the extent to which these expectations hold by exploring issue entrepreneurial strategies by political parties when applied to the issue of European integration. Using multilevel modelling to analyse European Election Study data, we firstly show that voters are more likely to cast their ballot for parties which are losers on the extant dimension based on concerns related to European integration. Secondly, a time-series cross-sectional analysis demonstrates that parties which employ an issue entrepreneurial strategy are more successful electorally. In other words, voters are responsive to the issue entrepreneurial strategies of parties. These findings have important implications for our understanding of party competition and electoral behaviour in multiparty systems

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 SAGE Publications
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2012 17:00
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:56

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