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Beyond "position" and "valence". A unified framework for the analysis of political issues

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  • Lorenzo De Sio

Abstract

Starting from a review of models of positional and valence issues, the paper – by tapping into the original definition of valence issue – introduces a classification of issues based on their level of overall, dychotomic agreement. This allows the placement of both positional and valence issues on a same continuum. A second dimension is then introduced, which identifies how much specific issues are over- or undersupported within a specific party. A visual classification of issues based on these two dimensions (the AP diagram) is then introduced, highlighting risks and opportunities for a party in campaigning on specific issues. Specific indicators (namely, issue yield) and hypotheses derived from the AP model are tested on survey data from the EU Profiler project, which collected issue profiles of Internet users from the 27 EU Countries before the EP 2009 Elections. The results show that the suggested dimensions and indicators identify a wide cross-country and cross-issue variance. Also, indicators generated by the AP model are powerful predictors of issue saliency, even subsuming traditional Downsean indicators.

Suggested Citation

  • Lorenzo De Sio, 2010. "Beyond "position" and "valence". A unified framework for the analysis of political issues," RSCAS Working Papers 2010/83, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2010/83
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    Keywords

    political issues; valence; position; party competition; European elections;

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