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The Role of Party Identification in Spatial Models of Voting Choice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 March 2015


Party identification and issue preferences are central explanatory factors in many voting choice models. Their effects on party preferences are usually understood to be additive. That is, issue preferences’ impact on party utilities is assumed to be the same among both party identifiers and nonidentifiers. This article suggests an alternative model in which party identification moderates the impact of issues on the vote. The impact of issue preferences on party utilities should be weaker among voters who identify with a party. This hypothesis is tested using data from four recent Dutch election studies. The results show that identifying with a party substantially weakens the issue preference effect on party evaluations, particularly for the party with which a voter identifies.

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© The European Political Science Association 2015 

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Serra Húnter Professor, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Trias Fargas 25–27, 08005 Barcelona, Spain ( This research was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grants PBZH1-114601 and PZ-121606). I thank Bruno Arpino, Sylvia Kritzinger, Lucas Leeman, Peter Selb, Wouter van der Brug and the anonymous reviewers of this journal for their helpful comments on previous versions. All errors remain my own. Online appendices are available at


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