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See detailMeasuring agreement: How to arrive at reliable measures of opinion congruence between voters and parties.
Lesschaeve, Christophe UL; Padmos, Lars

in Representation (in press)

The extent to which voters and parties agree on policies is an important way through which political scientists have empirically studied political representation. This opinion congruence is most often ... [more ▼]

The extent to which voters and parties agree on policies is an important way through which political scientists have empirically studied political representation. This opinion congruence is most often measured by comparing preferences on a number of policy statements. While the selection of policy statements has not escaped scholarly attention, its impact on the reliability of congruence scores, i.e. the degree to which similar levels of opinion congruence are found when different samples of policy statements are used, has been less investigated. This article looks at which factors of statements samples and voters affect the reliability of congruence measures. It does so by simulating over 5 million opinion congruence scores on the basis of a dataset containing 134 voter and party policy preferences. It finds that both the number of statements and their topic diversity positively affect the reliability of congruence estimates. In addition, the congruence estimates of politically less sophisticated voters are more reliable but only when many left-right policy statements are included in the statement selection. Finally, explorative analyses suggest that increasing topic diversity also increases the validity of congruence measures. [less ▲]

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See detailInequality in Party-voter Opinion Congruence: A Matter of Choices Made or Choices Given?
Lesschaeve, Christophe UL

in Representation (2017), 53(2), 153-166

Studies on the agreement, or congruence, between voters and parties have often found more congruence between higher educated voters and the parties for which they vote than between lower educated voters ... [more ▼]

Studies on the agreement, or congruence, between voters and parties have often found more congruence between higher educated voters and the parties for which they vote than between lower educated voters and their party selections. The literature offers two explanations for this finding. The first argues that lower educated voters vote ‘incorrectly’, selecting less congruent parties at the ballot box, despite the presence of a better alternative. The second posits that they lack policy offers for which to vote. This paper seeks to detangle these two explanations. Based on a dataset containing the positions of Belgian voters and parties on 23 policy statements, we find that inequality in opinion congruence is primarily the result of incorrect voting by lower educated voters. However, given Belgium’s political system—which increase the likelihood of policy offers attuned to lower educated voters, the education bias in parties’ policy offers is surprisingly high. [less ▲]

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