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Estimating the Conflict Dimensionality in the German Länder from Vote Advice Applications, 2014–2017

Dominic Nyhuis / Pascal König
Published Online: 2018-10-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/spp-2018-0007


Building on the spatial model of party competition, we investigate the structure of political conflict in German subnational politics. Little research has examined the conflict dimensionality at the Länder level. Moreover, the few studies which have done so predominantly rely on a deductive approach that pre-structures the conflict space using presumed conflict dimensions. In this paper, we put these dimensionality assumptions to the test with an inductive approach that capitalizes on parties’ preference expressions in vote advice applications. We circumvent the common concern that data from vote advice applications is too sparse for assessing political conflict structures by estimating a space that bridges multiple elections. Unlike previous research, we find that political conflict is defined by a comprehensive left-right dimension and a secondary dimension separating mainstream parties from fringe competitors. This anti-establishment dimension is characterized by diverging preferences over democratic institutions and policies considered consensual among the political mainstream.


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-10-12

Published in Print: 2018-06-26

Citation Information: Statistics, Politics and Policy, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 57–86, ISSN (Online) 2151-7509, ISSN (Print) 2194-6299, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/spp-2018-0007.

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