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Working Paper

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Spatial theories of voting have provided one of the leading frameworks for the analysis of electoral competition and electoral behavior. Spatial theories assume that : (1) voters and parties have policy preferences, (2) these preferences can be represented by points in the policy space and (3) voters’ electoral choice is affected by the disposition of their own preferences and of those of political parties. For almost four decades proximity theory has been the most popular spatial theory of voting. Proximity theory suggested that voters value parties on the basis of how proximate they are to their own personal position. This point had an obvious implication. If voters value proximity, then parties competing in two party systems should converge toward the position of the median voter to maximize their chances to win an election. Ironically even some of the scholars who were otherwise critical of proximity theory accepted the notion of convergence and little attention was paid to the fact that in two-party systems parties were actually not converging.


Political Science

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Political Science

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SMU Social Sciences and Humanities Working Paper Series, 1-2005

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.