From valence to position: Economic voting in extraordinary conditions

Abstract

Traditional theories of economic voting focusing on retrospective evaluations about the economy have been shown to fare as expected in the Greek context. Nevertheless, the current economic crisis in Greece has not only challenged the structure of the party system but also our understanding of how economic voting works in such extraordinary situations. Drawing from the context of the May 2012 parliamentary election in Greece we argue that economic voting in times of an economic turmoil can be conceptualized as a position issue. Our findings suggest that economic voting conceptualized in terms of position taking does a good job in explaining vote intentions between the incumbent versus the opposition when valence models would have otherwise faced serious challenges in doing so.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    LAOS and Golden Dawn and the Independent Greeks (ANEL) are anti-immigrant parties with a particular emphasis on law and order whereas Golden Dawn is a nationalist and xenophobic organization. In terms of economic policy those parties are characterized by a ‘welfare chauvinism’ (see Mudde, 1999), which is reflected in the L-R scores.

  2. 2.

    The data comes from the Choose4Greece voting advice application (VAA). VAAs are websites that help citizens find which party or candidate is closest to their own preferences (Garzia and Marschall, 2012). The data is available from: www.preferencematcher.org.

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Acknowledgements

Previous versions of this article were presented at the ‘What Happened to Incumbency Voting?’ workshop (Leuven, November 2012), ‘Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Voting Advice Applications’ workshop (Limassol, November 2012), and the Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association (Barcelona, June 2013). The authors would like to thank the panel discussants for their helpful comments and especially Michael S. Lewis-Beck, Ruth Dassonneville and Kostas Gemenis for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper. The authors are also grateful to Jonathan Wheatley for his help with the Choose4Greece data. Any errors remain our responsibility.

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Correspondence to Roula Nezi.

Appendix

Appendix

Questions used for the general economic index:

  • Taxes on large corporations should be increased.

  • Privatization will help reduce the deficit.

  • To combat unemployment, workers must accept the new forms of flexible working conditions (for example, part time jobs).

  • Co-funding the universities by private investors will have negative effects in higher education.

  • The introduction of university fees will ensure a better functioning of the public university.

  • The pay cuts are necessary for overcoming the crisis.

  • The proper implementation of the IMF/EU/ECB memoranda will lead Greece to overcome the financial crisis.

  • The loans provided to Greece have only benefited the banks and lenders.

  • Signing the memoranda with the IMF/EU/ECB means selling out Greece to foreigners.

  • The second memorandum with the IMF/EU/ECB was necessary to prevent Greece from bankruptcy.

  • Greece’s exit from the euro zone would help address the economic crisis.

  • Greece should leave the EU.

Questions used for the pro-market economic index:

  • Taxes on large corporations should be increased.

  • Privatization will help reduce the deficit.

  • To combat unemployment, workers must accept the new forms of flexible working conditions (for example, part time jobs).

  • The pay cuts are necessary for overcoming the crisis.

Questions used for the memorandum index:

  • The proper implementation of the IMF/EU/ECB memoranda will lead Greece to overcome the financial crisis.

  • Signing the memoranda with the IMF/EU/ECB means selling out Greece to foreigners.

  • The second memorandum with the IMF/EU/ECB was necessary to prevent Greece from bankruptcy.

Responses to all questions were recorded in a 5-point scale (with the possibility of non-response):

1=completely disagree, 2=disagree, 3=neither agree, nor disagree, 4=agree, 5=completely agree.

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Nezi, R., Katsanidou, A. From valence to position: Economic voting in extraordinary conditions. Acta Polit 49, 413–430 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1057/ap.2014.14

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Keywords

  • economic voting
  • economic crisis
  • Greece