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Who emphasizes and who blurs? Party strategies in multidimensional competition


  • Jan Rovny



Most studies of party competition consider the presentation of ambiguous positions a costly strategy. This literature, however, does not study party strategies in multiple issue dimensions. Yet multidimensionality may play an important role in parties’ strategic calculus. Although it may be rational for a party to emphasize a certain issue dimension, it may be equally rational to disguise its stance on other dimensions by blurring its position. This article argues that parties employ strategies of issue emphasis and position blurring in various dimensional contexts. Who emphasizes and who blurs thus depends on the actors’ relative stakes in different issue dimensions. The paper makes its case by performing cross-sectional analyses of 132 political parties in 14 West European party systems using Comparative Manifesto Project data, the 2006 Chapel Hill expert survey and the 2009 European Election Study.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Rovny, 2012. "Who emphasizes and who blurs? Party strategies in multidimensional competition," European Union Politics, , vol. 13(2), pages 269-292, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:13:y:2012:i:2:p:269-292

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    Cited by:

    1. André Krouwel & Annemarie Elfrinkhof, 2014. "Combining strengths of methods of party positioning to counter their weaknesses: the development of a new methodology to calibrate parties on issues and ideological dimensions," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 1455-1472, May.
    2. Mauerer, Ingrid & Pößnecker, Wolfgang & Thurner, Paul W. & Tutz, Gerhard, 2015. "Modeling electoral choices in multiparty systems with high-dimensional data: A regularized selection of parameters using the lasso approach," Journal of choice modelling, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 23-42.


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