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Responding to ideological change : partisan sorting in contemporary democracies, 1996-2015 Major, Tiana


This paper examines whether shifts in a party’s ideological positioning affect their own partisans’ left-right self-placements. When faced with a change in their party’s position, partisans are likely to adapt to this change, either through switching partisanship to another party, or updating their own ideology to match that of the party. Together, this process of partisan sorting leads to greater ideological alignment between parties and partisans. This paper examines whether there is evidence of partisan sorting in 23 contemporary democracies from 1996 to 2015. Using the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems and Manifesto Project data, the analysis finds evidence that partisan sorting may be occurring, but only in polarized party systems.

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