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Intra-Party Politics and Public Opinion: How Candidate Selection Processes Affect Citizens’ Satisfaction with Democracy

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Scholars often mention the centrality of parties for the democratic political system. Indeed political parties are indispensable institutions for the linkage between state and society, and should not remain absent in any comparative analysis of citizens’ political attitudes. Yet, only rarely do scholars study how parties shape people’s opinion about democracy. This article seeks to amend this lacuna and examine empirically how party level characteristics, specifically the nature of a party’s candidate selection procedure, relate to the level of satisfaction with democracy among citizens. The authors constructed a cross-national dataset with data on the selection procedures of 130 political parties in 28 country-sessions to examine whether citizens that vote for democratically organized parties are more satisfied with the way democracy works in their country. Additionally, this relationship is examined more closely in Israel and Belgium, two countries where candidate selection procedures show substantial variation and where politicians have made a strong claim for intraparty democratization. Both the cross-national as well as the country-specific analyses indicate that democratic candidate selection are indeed associated with greater satisfaction with democracy.
Journal: Political Behavior
ISSN: 0190-9320
Issue: 3
Volume: 38
Pages: 509 - 534
Publication year:2016