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Working paper

New Political Issues, Niche Parties, And Spatial Voting In Multiparty Systems: Immigration As A Dimension Of Electoral Competition In Scandinavia

Zhirkov K.
In the present study I use spatial voting model to assess the importance of the left-right and immigration issue dimensions on electoral behavior in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. My findings indicate that distances between parties and voters on both left-right and immigration dimensions do significantly influence voting choice in all three countries, although effect of the latter is substantially lower. I also demonstrate that voting for the niche parties, and especially for the radical right, is much stronger related to the immigration issue than voting for the mainstream parties, both center-left and center-right ones. Finally, my analysis demonstrates that positional spatial voting model shows a good degree of stability even under imperfect measurement of policy preferences. In conclusion, I discuss implications of my findings for the research on new political issues and niche parties.