Values, Cleavages and Party Choice in France, 1988–1995
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This paper examines the relations between social cleavages, voters' values and party choice in France from 1988 to 1995. Its main goal is to assess Grunberg and Schweisguth's influential claim that 1995 was marked by a critical election whereby French political space was transformed from the traditional two blocs characterizing the Left and Right into three distinct blocs: Left, Moderate Right and Extreme Right. More specifically, we test whether support for the Front National constituted a new separate bloc, in terms of both socio-demographics and attitudes, in 1995. Although we find some changes in the effects of socio-demographics and attitudes on party choice, these changes were not radical, suggesting that the two-bloc characterization of French party politics remains valid. We conclude that support for the Front National does not constitute a unique political bloc largely because its support is not based on a cohesive social grouping with a distinct attitudinal profile, a finding borne out by the results of the 2002 elections.
Keywordsparties political space cleavage voting value systems Extreme Right
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