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The dynamics of issue competence and vote for parties in and out of power: an analysis of valence in Britain, 1979–1997

Green, Jane and Jennings, Will (2012) The dynamics of issue competence and vote for parties in and out of power: an analysis of valence in Britain, 1979–1997 European Journal of Political Research, 41, (4), pp. 469-503. (doi:10.1111/j.1475-6765.2011.02004.x).

Record type: Article


This article develops the reward-punishment issue model of voting using a newly collated aggregate measure of issue competence in Britain between 1971 and 1997, revealing systematic differences between governing and opposition parties in the way citizens’ evaluations of party competence are related to vote intention. Using monthly Gallup ‘best party to handle the most important problem’ and vote intention data, time series Grangercausation tests give support to a classic issue reward-punishment model for incumbents. However, for opposition parties this reward-punishment model does not hold: macro-issue competence evaluations are Granger-caused by changes in vote choice or governing party competence. An explanation is offered based upon the differentiating role of policy performance and informational asymmetries, and the implications are considered for comparative studies of voting, public opinion and for political party competition.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 8 July 2011
Published date: 2012
Keywords: valence, competence, incumbents, oppositions, vote choice
Organisations: Politics & International Relations


Local EPrints ID: 336593
ISSN: 0304-4130
PURE UUID: 8362f9cb-20ff-465c-b66e-89b4c87e8b46

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Date deposited: 30 Mar 2012 10:25
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:07

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Author: Jane Green
Author: Will Jennings

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