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Defeat at Home? Issue-Ownership and Social Democratic Support in Scandinavia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2014

Abstract

The aim of this article is to account for the differences in electoral support for social democratic parties in Scandinavia in recent years. The main argument put forward is that the relative success of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) in preserving voter support compared to the major decline for both the Danish and Norwegian social democrats should be understood by focusing on two factors, both related to the phenomenon of issue-voting. We argue that the relative success of the SAP must been seen in light of the way in which traditional political issues, like employment and social welfare, have continued to dominate Swedish political debates, whereas in Norway and Denmark, new political issues, particularly immigration, have sailed up the political agenda and paved the way for new right-wing parties which attract social democratic voters. Secondly, we believe that one issue in particular, that of the future of the welfare state, is important for preserving social democratic support. Therefore, it is also relevant that the Swedish Social Democratic Party appears to have been more successful than social democratic parties in the neighbouring countries in convincing voters that it is the party best suited to preserve the existing welfare system.

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Copyright © Government and Opposition Ltd 2004

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References

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