Divided We Blur: Internal Party Dynamics and Position Blurring Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Shady, Stephanie
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Recent literature has postulated that parties position themselves rmly along their primary dimension and less denitively along their secondary dimension, with the goal of maximizing vote share. Although the literature on the blurring hypothesis (Rovny 2013) has made important strides from the perspective of elite party strategy, it has paid scarce attention to the question of whether, or under what conditions, blurring is strategic. Existing literature largely assumes that political parties are unitary actors, but in this paper, I relax this assumption and examine the extent to which blurring is a consequence of dissent within parties. I make use of a new survey item in the 2017 Chapel Hill Expert Survey (CHES) to operationalize blurred positions more directly than previous research. After controlling for the salience of dimensions to the party, I nd a strong, positive relationship between levels of intra-party dissent and position ambiguity. The results of this paper suggest that blurring is not always a strategic move by a unied party. Rather, intra-party divisions contribute substantively to the ambiguity of positions of the party as a whole.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Marks, Gary
  • Hooghe, Liesbet
  • Maxwell, Rahsaan
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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