The study of voting behaviour remains a vibrant sub-discipline of political science. The Handbook of Electoral Behaviour is an authoritative and wide ranging survey of this dynamic field, drawing together a team of the world's leading scholars to provide a state-of-the-art review that sets the agenda for future study. Taking an interdisciplinary approach and focusing on a range of countries, the handbook is composed of eight parts. The first five cover the principal theoretical paradigms, establishing the state of the art in their conceptualisation and application, and followed by chapters on their specific challenges and innovative applications in contemporary voting studies. The remaining three parts explore elements of the voting process to understand their different effects on vote outcomes. The SAGE Handbook of Electoral Behaviour is an essential benchmark publication for advanced students, researchers and practitioners in the fields of politics, sociology, psychology and research methods.

Party Systems and Voter Alignments

Party Systems and Voter Alignments
Åsa von Schoultz


The success of Western democracies is on many accounts a story of stable party systems. Predictability in the choice-set that confronts voters at elections provides several advantages or democratic goods (Sartori 1976; Mainwaring and Scully 1995; Kitschelt et al. 1999; Lipset 2001). A stable party system allows for voters to align with parties and hence strengthens mass-elite linkages. It facilitates different voting strategies on behalf of the voters by allowing them to effectively assign accountability ex post and to give mandate ex ante (Kiewiet and McCubbins 1991; Tóka 1998; Przeworski et al. 1999; Str⊘m et al. 2003). Furthermore, a stable party system enables coalition-building and decision-making (Dalton ...

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