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Measuring Issue Congruence Between German Parties and Voters. Evidence from VAA Data in Three German Elections

Political Parties
Representation
Electoral Behaviour
Stefan Marschall
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Stefan Marschall
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Vasiliki (Vicky) Triga
Cyprus University of Technology
Lucas Constantin Wurthmann
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

Abstract

Drawing on the concept of issue congruence between voters and their representatives, this paper compares the positions of parties and their supporters in three electoral contests in Germany, namely the European Elections in 2014 and two Federal elections in 2013 and 2017. The data is generated from three Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) that covered the respective elections. The analysis attempts to map the positions of voters and parties in a multi-dimensional policy space. Having done so, we then evaluate congruence between voters' and their parties over this electoral cycle with a view to contributing towards current debates in German politics – especially on the future role of the “Volksparteien” such as the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats. In the most recent election in 2017 the two formerly large parties have suffered from a severe loss of voters. With these data we can check whether a decreasing issue congruence between the parties and their potential voters might have contributed to this phenomenon.