Who emphasizes and who blurs? Party strategies in multidimensional competition
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 partiesâ€™ 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 actorsâ€™ 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.
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