The voters between left and right

Date of publication: June 15, 1980

Company: NIPO

Author: Jan Stapel

Abstract:

9 out of 10 voters can position themselves on a left / right semantic differential scale. Some 30% choose for the center position. The scale-positions largely explain party-choice in elections as well as perceptions of political entities such as parties and political leaders. The frequency distributions between left and right are highly stable over time. The tendency to shift in either direction (if forced to do so) changes slightly more in successive surveys. On the whole polarisation-simulation favours the right, both over all and in the political center. The middle-of-the readers are being further analysed. They show both scepticism and low political interest but also a relatively open mind. Since many of them go and vote they do decide about parliamentary stalemate or workable majorities. They tend to attribute authority to politically less involved leaders and there appear to be political program items that appeal to the political center more than to other voters.

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