Acta Politica

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 203–234

Dutch Voters and the Changing Party Space 1989–2006

  • Kees Aarts
  • Jacques Thomassen

DOI: 10.1057/ap.2008.6

Cite this article as:
Aarts, K. & Thomassen, J. Acta Polit (2008) 43: 203. doi:10.1057/ap.2008.6


Elections in the Netherlands in the period 1989–2006 have shown major changes in the supply of political parties and at some points a very large volatility of results. We describe these developments against the background of theories of dealignment and realignment. Specifically, we focus on the alleged rise of a new ‘cultural’ dimension of political conflict in Dutch politics at the level of the electorate. We show that the electorate's position on political issues representing the traditional conflict dimensions (left–right, religion) has been relatively stable. Since the early 1990s, new political problems have become salient for the voters. Sympathy for political parties can be modelled by three dimensions (authoritarian–libertarian, left–right, religious) which are related to the voters’ positions on political issues. These positions on issues representing traditional and new political conflict dimensions also affect voting behaviour for traditional and for new political parties.


political parties elections voting Dutch politics political change in the Netherlands 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kees Aarts
    • 1
  • Jacques Thomassen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Research MethodsUniversity of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands

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