In the aftermath of disruptive electoral and political developments such as the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump, six important European countries went to the polls between 2017 and 2018. This book presents the results of the Issue Competition Comparative Project (ICCP), which analysed these six elections through a focus on post-ideological issue competition, leveraging a fresh theoretical perspective -and innovative data collection and analysis methods- emerging from issue yield theory.
The contributors to this volume cast a new light on electoral developments that have affected Western Europe in recent years, pointing to the key distinction between problem solvers (parties and leaders that leverage their technocratic competence, and present a consensual, win-win view of contemporary transformations) and conflict mobilizers (that instead invest on the mobilization of conflict emerging from these transformations), as well as to the ability of some actors to mobilize voters across traditional ideological boundaries. In this light, parties commonly identified as "populist" simply emerge distinctively as cross-ideological conflict mobilizers; but mainstream parties appear vital and competitive as well, when they properly identify and leverage their issue advantages. Thus, the fate of democracy in Western Europe does not appear doomed to a triumph of populist appeals, but rather openly depending on the ability of political parties to leverage issue opportunities that emerge from societal demands and needs.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of West European Politics.
Lorenzo De Sio is Full Professor of Political Science at Luiss, Rome, Italy. His research specializes on voting behaviour and party competition in comparative perspective and appears in journals such as American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, Party Politics, Political Psychology, West European Politics, South European Society and Politics.
Romain Lachat is Associate Professor of Political Behavior at Sciences Po, Paris, France. His research focuses on the impact of institutions and party characteristics on individual-level behavior and appears in journals including Comparative Political Studies, Electoral Studies, the European Journal of Political Research, Political Behavior, and Political Science Research & Methods.
Lorenzo De Sio and Romain Lachat
1. Research Design: From Issues to Goals
Roberto D'Alimonte, Lorenzo De Sio and Mark N. Franklin
2. The 2017 Dutch general election: how small parties campaigned more strategically
Mathilde M. van Ditmars, Nicola Maggini and Joost van Spanje
3. Campaigning in an Unprecedented Election: Issue Competition in the French 2017 Presidential Election
Romain Lachat and Elie Michel
4. The United Kingdom 2017 Election: Polarisation in a Split Issue Space
Cristian Vaccari, Kaat Smets and Oliver Heath
5. It's No Longer the Economy, Stupid! Issue Yield at the 2017 German Federal Election
Simon T. Franzmann, Heiko Giebler and Thomas Poguntke
6. Parties' Issue Strategies on the Drawing Board: The 2017 Austrian Case
Carolina Plescia, Sylvia Kritzinger and Patricia Oberluggauer
7. The 2018 Italian general election: Party strategies in a changing political space
Vincenzo Emanuele, Nicola Maggini and Aldo Paparo
8. Ideology, Problem-Solving, and Conflict Mobilization
Lorenzo De Sio and Romain Lachat
9. The Proof of the Pudding: Issue Yield at the Ballot Box
Lorenzo De Sio and Till Weber