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Liselotte Libbrecht, Bart Maddens, and Wilfried Swenden, "Party competition in regional elections: The strategies of state-wide parties in Spain and the United Kingdom," Party Politics, 19 (July 2013), 624-640. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol19/issue4/ ]

First paragraph:
This article is based on an exploratory study that applies Meguid's (2005, 2008) Position-- Salience--Ownership (PSO) theory to regional electoral competition in Spain and the United Kingdom. The PSO framework assumes that in order to maximize voters during electoral campaigns parties make important choices in regard to which issues they should address (salience) and what position they should take on these issues. Directional theories of issue voting mostly consider parties' strategies with regard to the Left--Right dimension, but much less so with respect to 'niche issues' such as the environment or the territorial organization of the State (but see Flanagan and Lee, 2003; Hooghe et al., 2002; Inglehart, 1997; Meguid, 2005, 2008). We seek to explain party strategies in relation to such niche issues by considering how mainstream parties (state-wide parties or SWPs) strategize on centre--periphery issues ('the regionalist issue') in state-wide and regional elections.1 We anticipate that SWPs will seek to vary their strategies, especially where they face fierce competition from regionalist parties (De Winter and Tu¨rsan, 1998; De Winter et al., 2006)

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Possible strategies of a party with regard to an issue based on combinations of salience and position.
Table 2. Position of regionalist parties in eight Spanish and two UK regions and percentage of the vote for regionalist and SWPs in the last regional election before the analysed election.
Table 3. Expected strategies and values for salience and directional certainty on the regionalist issue for selected Spanish and British SWPs.

Last Paragraph:
(Next to last paragraph) By and large, our analysis reveals that the key assumptions of the PSO stack up quite well when applied to regional elections, except for one, but important, condition. SWPs are not likely to adopt the most logical strategy according to the PSO theory at the regional level if this runs counter to the prevailing strategy at the state-wide level. In other words, an illogical strategy from a mono-level perspective may turn out to be a very logical one from a multi-level perspective. SWPs do not want to contradict themselves: they may attach more salience to the regionalist issue and somewhat adapt their position, but not to the extent of contradicting their strategy in state-wide elections.

Last updated November 2013