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Styles of representation, policy congruence and expectations about democracy: Parties and party voters

TitleStyles of representation, policy congruence and expectations about democracy: Parties and party voters
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of PublicationSubmitted
AuthorsÖnnudóttir, Eva H.
Conference NameThe True European Voter: A Strategy for Analysing the Prospects of Electoral Democracy that includes the West, the South and the East of the Continent” and “3rd European Conference on Comparative Electoral Research
Keywordsdemocratic expectations, Policy congruence, representation, styles of representation
Abstract

The aim of this paper is twofold. First I examine how different styles of representation emphasised within parties explain how well their voters’ expectations about democracy are fulfilled. Second I examine whether party voters’ expectations about democracy are better fulfilled when policy congruence between parties and their voters is high. Styles of representation are defined at the party level as the proportion of representatives within parties who are partisans, trustees or delegates. Policy congruence is defined as how close parties are to their voters on the left right scale. For voters expectations about democracy I use questions from the European Social Survey, round 6. There respondents were asked first about how important various factors are for democracy (such as free and fair elections) and next about the status of those same factors in their respective country. The distance between what is important for democracy and the status reflects how well voters’ expectations about democracy are fulfilled. Very early and preliminary findings indicate that the more the partisan style is emphasised within parties, the better voters’ expectations about democracy are fulfilled. For the role of delegates the relation is reverse, the more that style is emphasised the worse are voters expectation about democracy fulfilled, while the style trustees does not seem to have an impact. Furthermore, the more policy congruence between parties and party voters, the better are voters’ expectations about democracy fulfilled.

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