Source:Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), p.1-22 (2013)
Empirical assessments of issue competition lack both conceptual precision in the use of the concept of "policy issue", and sufficient studies integrating both salience and positional perspectives. This article specifies an operational definition of a "policy issue" suited for the analysis of issue competition in the electoral arena and beyond, and proposes a typology of electoral issues that takes into account the two sides of issue competition - the decision to address an issue, and the adoption of a diverging or similar position on it. This typology allows distinguishing proprietal, consensual, blurred and conflictual issues. The framework is illustrated with an analysis of EU-related issues in the electoral manifestos of British, French and German parties. This source did not enable us to identify any blurred issue, but our exploratory study delivers several conclusions regarding the other issue types. Proprietal issues appear to be marginal, indicating that parties tend to devote attention to the same issues and that issue ownership is highly contested. We further observe a primacy of consensus in EU-related discourses, especially among governing parties.
Humanities and Social Sciences/Political scienceJournal articles