Using new data for the 1977–2012 period, this article shows that dealignment has halted during the last decade amongst older and better educated West German voters, and that party identification is now more widespread than it was in the 1990s in the east. For voters who identified with one of the relevant parties at the time of the 2013 election, their vote choice was more or less a foregone conclusion, as candidates and issues played only a minor role for this group. A detailed analysis of leftist voters shows that supporters of the Greens, the Left, and the SPD have broadly similar preferences but diverging partisan identities. Even amongst western voters of the Left, most respondents claim to be identifiers. This suggests that the fragmentation of the left is entrenched, and that ‘agenda’ policies have triggered a realignment.
As part of our departmental seminar series, Professor Takis S. Pappas will give a talk on
Why Greece failed, and what are the lessons learned?
(November 25, 6 pm, GFG 01-701)
As always, all staff and students are cordially invited.
Greece has been in a deep economic, political and social crisis at least 2009, and the hopes for its recovery and return to normalcy are at the moment rather dim. Two interrelated questions become urgent: What went wrong in Greece, when things for many decades had seemed to be going right? And how did contemporary Greek democracy become possible and manage to sustain itself for almost three decades? The first question calls for an explanation of the logic that led Greece to abandon a liberal political arrangement for another that eventually led to disaster; the second question requires an examination of the particular mechanisms that enabled the country’s overall political arrangement to work for nearly three decades. It will be shown that Greece’s failure is the outcome of a long process during which populism prevailed over liberalism and became hegemonic in society. Analysis will be based on a novel understanding of populism as democratic illiberalism, which, not only is inimical to liberal democracy, but may also contaminate a country’s entire party and political system through the various micro-mechanisms it helps develop. Above all, persisting populism is a huge obstacle to Greece’s current efforts to overcome crisis.
Takis S. Pappas is the author of Populism and Crisis Politics in Greece (Palgrave Macmillan 2014) and co-editor of European Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession (ECPR Press 2015). He is currently working on a new book project titled “Democratic Illiberalism: How Populism Grows”
Staff and students are cordially invited to attend the next event in our staff seminar series. Richard Johnston (UBC, Vancouver) will give a talk on campaign effects in the US, Canada, and Germany on Wednesday May 20, 6pm in room 01-611 (Georg-Forster-Gebäude).
Richard Johnston is one of the world's leading experts on electoral behaviour and electoral campaigns. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Opinion, Elections, and Representation at UBC and is also a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the EUI (Florence)
Elections are a defining feature of representative democracy, and electoral campaigns are critical for accountability and for signals about policy. But so far the research record yields very partial views of whether - or how - campaigns work. Broadly, two schools can be identified. On one side, elections are driven by predictable "fundamental" forces that campaigns merely activate. On the other, campaigns do more: they are critical to the result and produce history in their own right. The fundamentalist perspective is essentially benign. More intense campaigns bring out more voters. Negative claims are more truthful than positive ones; indeed the increased volume and negativity of campaigns has compensated for the decline in substantive news coverage. Elections without campaigns would be far more random events than are elections with them. On the rival view, campaigns are sites for character assassination if not outright manipulation. These fears are amplified by technological developments, including the rise of social media and "big data," and extend even to the most traditional form of campaign effort, doorstep mobilization. Can these competing claims both be true? If so what is their relative weight, and how are those weights contingent on institutional and party-system context?
Within less than two years of being founded by disgruntled members of the governing CDU, the newly formed Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has already performed extraordinarily well in the 2013 general election, the 2014 EP election, and a string of state elections. Highly unusually by German standards, it campaigned for an end to all efforts to save the euro and argued for a reconfiguration of Germany’s foreign policy. This seems to chime with the recent surge in far-right voting in Western Europe, and the AfD was subsequently described as right-wing populist and Europhobe.
On February 4, 6pm (room 01-701 GFG), Dr John Bartle (Essex) will speak on "The Policy Mood in Britain and Spain". His talk is based on his current BA-funded project and will describe the left-right movement of the electorate over time, its causes and consequences in terms of election outcomes.
As always, all are welcome, and students in particular are encouraged to attend.
John Bartle is a Reader in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. He specialises in the study of voting behaviour, public opinion and political communications. For more information see his Website
Within less than two years of being founded by disgruntled members of the governing CDU, the newly-formed Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has already performed extraordinary well in the 2013 General election, the 2014 EP election, and a string of state elections. Highly unusually by German standards, it campaigned for an end to all efforts to save the Euro and argued for a re-configuration of Germany's foreign policy. This seems to chime with the recent surge in far right voting in Western Europe, and the AfD was subsequently described as right-wing populist and europhobe.
On the basis of the party's manifesto and of hundreds of statements the party has posted on the internet, this article demonstrates that the AfD does indeed occupy a position at the far-right of the German party system, but it is currently neither populist nor does it belong to the family of Radical Right parties. Moreover, its stance on European Integration is more nuanced than expected and should best be classified as soft eurosceptic.
Thanks to the generosity of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, we are now able to re-interview 11,000 voters that have previously been surveyed by Rosie Campbell and Phil Cowley to see if localism still matters in the thoroughly changed context of the 2015 General Election.