Subjective vs. Objective Proximity in Poland: New Directions for the Empirical Study of Political Representation
Radosław Markowski , Joshua A. Tucker
AbstractWhile theoretical questions concerning the nature of political representation have long fascinated political scientists of all stripes, the empirical study of political representation has almost exclusively featured studies of stable, established democracies.1 Moreover, left largely unexplored – despite its role as an underlying motivating feature of the whole enterprise – has been the manner in which representation affects the political attitudes and behavior of members of the electorate. We take up precisely this question as we concurrently shift the focus of our study to one of Europe’s most important new democracies: Poland, the largest of the so called new “EU 12.” We introduce a new dataset, the 2005 Polish National Election Study (Polish NES), which was specifically designed to study the topic of political representation. We use the Polish NES to test a wide range of important but relatively unexplored questions concerning the effects of sharing policy positions with political parties. More specifically, we examine whether being closer on issues to a given party increases the likelihood of voting for (or expressing a preference for in the case of non-voters) that party, and whether that effect is stronger for subjective or objective proximity. We also test whether being closer to one’s preferred party is related to feelings of partisanship, consistency in voting patterns, participation in elections, feeling efficacious in regard to the government, and satisfaction with democracy, and we can examine whether this relationship is more important for different versions of objective proximity. We present a variety of findings in the text, but two of the most important are that: (1) smaller perceived distance from a given party (“subjective proximity”) is always correlated with a preference/vote for that party, even when this is not the case using objective measures of the party’s position; and (2) closer proximity to one’s party in both subjective and objective terms is related to more overall satisfaction with the political system, but not necessarily stronger feelings of partisanship or a greater likelihood of participating in the political system though voting.
|Journal series||Studia Polityczne, ISSN 1230-3135, (B 13 pkt)|
|Publication size in sheets||1.75|
|Keywords in English||political representation; democracy; political parties; proximity; electoral behavior|
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