The evolution of policy attitudes in France
The theory of issue evolution predicts that the dimensional space of party competition is simple. We contrast this prediction with the expectation that a complicated multi-party system, such as the one in France, produces a more complicated dimensional structure. To test this claim, we examine the longitudinal structure of the policy preferences that underlie public opinion in France. Using surveys of preferences as a basic data source, we are able to extract two latent dimensions that almost fully explain the reported preferences. Both dimensions are defined by the leftâ€“right structure of the French party system. Whereas one is the traditional socioeconomic domain, the other comprises a wide array of new cultural issues. The orthogonal solution, however, does not produce the expected socioeconomic and cultural dimensions. Thus we impose our prior belief in the socioeconomic and cultural content and rotate the two dimensions independently to maximize fit with the two prior dimensions. We show that the same two-dimensional structure is also present in cross-sectional data, and can be used to position parties in the two-dimensional space. Moreover, we find that the two dimensions are closely connected, despite their completely different content. The explanation, which arises from the theory of issue evolution, is that the meaning of leftâ€“right is dynamic as well as elastic and incorporates new issues as they arise.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:eeupol:v:13:y:2012:i:2:p:293-316. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publishing)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.