Reference : Thinking alike: two pathways to leadership-candidate opinion congruence
Scientific journals : Article
Law, criminology & political science : Political science, public administration & international relations
Thinking alike: two pathways to leadership-candidate opinion congruence
Lesschaeve, Christophe mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Social Sciences (DSOC) >]
Van Erkel, Patrick []
Meulewaeter, Conrad []
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
United Kingdom
[en] Political Parties ; Opinion congruence ; Candidates
[en] This paper seeks to explain why party candidates and their party leadership have congruent policy positions or not. Despite its importance as a way through which parties are able to behave as a unitary actor, this congruence has never been studied as a dependent variable. We seek to fill this void in the literature. Our results suggest that leadership-candidate congruence comes about through two mechanisms: selection and learning. With selection, the party leadership aims to get those candidates elected whose policy preferences are congruent with the party line. Learning occurs through the process of socialization in which candidates assume the views of the party they work and candidate for as their own under. This happens under the pressure of cognitive dissonance. If a candidate learns about the position of the leadership and notices that they are incongruent, they may feel discomfort and change their opinion to be congruent with the party.

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