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 Nordic Party Members: Linkages in Troubled Times, Edited by Marie Demker, Knut Heidar, and Karina Kosiara-Pedersen

Which way from Left to Right? The Issue Basis of Citizens’ Ideological Self-placement in Western Europe

Comparative Politics
Political Sociology
Romain Lachat
Sciences Po Paris
Romain Lachat
Sciences Po Paris

This paper analyses the relation between citizens’ left–right orientation and their preferences on more concrete economic and sociocultural issues. It suggests that this relation should be non-linear. Economic issue preferences should be associated with stronger differences among left-wing citizens (e.g., between extreme-left and centre-left citizens) than among right-wing voters. The reverse pattern should characterize the relation between sociocultural issues and ideological self-placement. The analysis of 19 elections in five West European countries offers strong support for hypothesis that left–right ideology and political issues are not related in a linear way.
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