Electoral strategy in geographic space: Accounting for spatial proximity in district-level party competition

Joshua D. Potter, Santiago Olivella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

How does a political party choose where to field candidates or party lists? Traditional models of party competition mainly focus on strategy: parties enter districts where they believe they could win many votes or seats. These strategic considerations are typically couched in terms of ideological positioning and the mechanics of the vote-to-seat translation at the district level. However, parties' entry decisions are also subject to geographical limitations and no prior study has explored the extent to which geography limits strategic entry at the district level. In this paper, we explore the severity of those limitations by modeling strategic and geographic factors side-by-side. In so doing, we find that geography limits parties' entry decisions, specifically by dampening the effects of strategic incentives to enter in geographically distant districts. We utilize a highly detailed district-level database of seven multimember European countries and tens of thousands of party entry decisions across these districts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-86
Number of pages11
JournalElectoral Studies
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Keywords

  • Electoral competition
  • Electoral geography
  • Political parties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations

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