Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 December 2015
This paper responds to Evans and Kat’s critique of the valence politics model of electoral choice. Their critique is deficient in several respects. First, the authors do not test the valence politics model, which is motivated by a theory of voting rather than a claim about the relationship between generalized measures of “party preference” and “party performance.” Second, Evans and Kat do not provide theoretical grounding for partisanship, which they claim is strongly exogenous to other variables of interest. Third, there are several specification and testing problems with their structural equation model. We study the properties of the valence model using a vector error correction model of aggregate monthly survey data gathered throughout the New Labour Era. Consistent with theoretical expectations, key valence politics variables constitute a powerful cointegrated system in which the dynamics of partisanship are endogenous to other variables in the system.
Paul Whiteley is a Professor in the Department of Government, University of Essex Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ. Harold Clarke is the Ashbell Smith Professor of Political Science, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080, Texas, USA. David Sanders is the Regius Professor of Government, in the Department of Government at the University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ. Marianne Stewart is a Professor of Political Science in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX 75080, Texas, USA.