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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 222
Christa Scholtz

MIDTERM POLI 222: POLITICAL PROCESS AND BEHAVIOR IN CANADA Online Readings Richard Johnston “Party Identification and Campaign Dynamics” (1992) The stakes: - What should a campaign study look for? 4 questions: o How does PID perform over the campaign? o Do any voters change their opinions on issues or their perceptions of leaders? o Does the weight attached to certain issues or perceptions shift over the campaign? o What, if any, is the net effect of such shifts? - A form of campaign flux is persuasion (less likely than priming) The study: - The 1988 Canadian Election Study (CES) marked a departure from previous practice in Canada and elsewhere: o It was the first rolling cross section survey conducted by academics during a general-election campaign o It was broken up into 47 replicates, yielding a daily average of 77 completed interviews o Important for PID The campaign: - The 1988 Canadian election was fought primarily over the Canada-USA FTA - Two old parties’ leaders: o Brian Mulroney = whether he could be trusted to negotiate commercial union o John Turner = doubts about his executive capacity; which threatened his credibility as a critic of the FTA The unmoved mover? - About 70% of respondents with a vote intention claimed to identify with a party - Each party’s daily reading for share of identifications is regressed on a set of factors from the day before. Two factors: basic components of the vote and of the campaign’s dynamic story; the party’s share of the vote itself - All identification groups responded positively to John Turner’s debate performance. But liberals were the most responsive of all. Priming: - PID did become more important as the campaign progresses, at least for the two old parties Net impact: - Where liberal identifiers became about 15 pts more likely to vote liberal, nonpartisans became close to 25 pts more likely to do so - Where conservative identifiers became under 10 pts less likely to support their party at midcampaign, conservative vote intentions among nonpartisans dropped close to 30 pts. Discussion: - If PID was unmoved, was it, in its own right, a mover? - The answer is both yes and no and it is for both priming and persuasion o At midcampaign all persuasion was biased and almost all worked to resolve attitudinal or perceptual tension o Attitudinal tension was dramatically lowered for liberals as they moved toward their party’s position on the FTA, a movement they did not recant. - When a party suffered a reverse, identifiers’ defection went up; when events favored the party, identifiers’ defection went down - 1988 election’s campaign cut through PID barriers Marianne Stewart and Harold Clarke “The Dynamics of Party Identification in Federal Systems: the Canadian case” (1998) The author’s theory is that decentralized federal systems provide voters with opportunities to develop different national and subnational party identifications. It is argued that a federal system, particularly a decentralized one, constitutes an institutional context that influences the development and dynamics of party identification at national and subnational levels of government Federal systems and party identifications: - Federal systems in democratic politics divide government responsibilities and thus, expand the scope of government performance, public accountability and citizen participation - Such systems also increase the number or arenas in which party competition occurs and thereby provide opportunities for the development of consequential disparities in national and subnational party systems - Federalism originally was established with a strong national (federal) government and limited, specific powers for the subnational (provincial) governments to accommodate territorial and ethno-linguistic divisions in Canadian society. o Over time, the provinces have acquired major responsibilities and high public visibility - Contemporary Canada is characterized by varying arenas of political choice that encourage differences in party support patterns at the two levels of government o Many Canadians, psychologically inhabit two “political worlds” o The idea that voters’ political attitudes and behavior in the “small worlds” of provincial parties do not influence those in the “larger world” of national politics, or vice versa, is the basis for the argument that partisan inconsistency across levels of the federal system - Politicians and historians long have emphasized the importance of regionally based economic and ethno-linguistic conflicts to explain the evolution of the nationals and provincial party systems - The theory helps to understand two of the most salient characteristics of PID in Canada, namely cross-level inconsistency and over-time instability, and their strong interrelationship PID: the persistence of inconsistency and instability - In Canada’s 1993 national election, the governing Progressive Conservatives (PCS), who captured 169 of 195 seats in the preceding (1988) election, elected only two MPs. - Partisan inconsistency has increased in every region in recent years - Canadians have unstable partisan attachments o 49% of those participating in the 1988-93 national panel survey identified with the same federal party in both years, whereas 33% switched parties, and an additional 14% moved to or from identification and nonidentification o The sequence of questions used to measure federal party identification is:  Thinking of federal politics, do you usually think of yourself as liberal, conservative, NDP, social credit, or what?  How strongly [party named] do you feel; very strong, fairly strong, or not very strongly?  Parallel sequence of questions and procedures is use
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