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The Impact of the Electoral System on Political Campaigning : Are Candidates for the Council of States More Moderate than their Fellow Candidates for the National Council ?
Swiss Political Science Review
It is commonly believed that majority voting enhances parties to cluster around the centre of the political space, whereas proportional systems (PR) foster great ideological divergence. The theoretical arguments for these expectations go back to the work of Downs (1957) and Duverger (1954). More recent studies, however, produced quite contradictory empirical findings. In this paper I will test whether similar arguments hold true for the positioning of candidates campaigning in different electoral systems. The elections for the two chambers of the Swiss Parliament and the data from the Swiss Electoral Studies (SELECTS) and the Swiss Voting Advice Application (VAA) smartvote offer an excellent - almost laboratory like - opportunity to do so empirically. The analyses show clearly, the theoretical claims that majority voting necessarily fosters more moderate positions find no support. The candidates for the Council of States, elected in a majority system, are not more moderate than their fellow party candidates for the National Council which are elected in a PR system.
Electoral systems, PR voting, Polarization, Campaigning, VAAs
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