Manifestos and public opinion: a new test of the classic Downsian spatial model

Abstract : According to the Downs spatial model of electoral competition, in bipartisan systems political parties' manifestos are closer to the median voter's concerns, while in multiparty democracies partisan concerns are more covered in parties' platforms. Based on data in political manifestos and public opinion in 23 European countries from 2004 to 2012, we show that the Downsian model provides correct predictions. Two more specific points are uncovered in this article: first, unlike the previous studies and the original model, we focus on the people's most important issue, instead of on their preferences. Second, we analyse seven different issues, and we show that the Downsian model works only on the issues which reflect the left-right continuum.
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Raul Magni Berton, Sophie Panel. Manifestos and public opinion: a new test of the classic Downsian spatial model. 2014. ⟨halshs-00954738⟩

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