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Robert Johns and Heinz Brandenburg, "Giving voters what they want? Party orientation perceptions and preferences in the British electorate," Party Politics, 20 (January 2014), 89-104. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol20/issue1/ ]

First paragraph:
The major political parties in Britain and elsewhere face a dilemma. They have had to respond to a decline in partisanship and hence a thinning out of their traditional constituencies since the 1970s (Dalton, 2000; Schmitt and Holmberg, 1995) by broadening and diversifying their appeal. Such competitive pressures and their consequences were not an entirely new phenomenon (Downs, 1957; Kirchheimer, 1966). Yet it is fair to say that parties have substantially transformed in recent decades not just by utilizing more professional methods of electioneering but ultimately by internalizing an organizational philosophy that has been described as a 'political market orientation' (Ormrod, 2005).

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Mean perceptions of product/market orientation for the three main parties.
Figure 2. Perceived product/market orientation and propensity to vote for all parties.
Figure 3. PTV scores for pairs of parties by differentials in their perceived orientations.
Table 1. Correlations between orientation ratings (main and quadratic terms) and PTV for a party:
Table 2. Coefficients for orientation perceptions from regressions of PTV for each party.
Table 3. Main, squared and interaction (with party ID) effects of orientation perceptions on PTV.
Figure 4. Mean predicted PTV values for each party by its perceived orientation (calculated from regression models in Table 2)

Last Paragraph:
(first paragraph of conclusion) The ideas at the heart of Lees-Marshment's political marketing model--that parties face a trade-off between sticking by their traditional stances and modifying these to please a greater number of voters, and that a party favouring the latter approach will perform better in elections--are not abstruse academic notions. They dominate popular discourse about electoral politics. It seems unlikely then that, once explained in more everyday terms, the product/market distinction will have proved too unfamiliar or difficult for survey respondents. Yet the straightforward predictions generated from the Lees-Marshment model were confounded when tested on individual-level data, both in bivariate and multivariate analyses. Voters did not recognize the trade-off between the two orientations, and they did not on the whole prefer market orientation. Even non-partisan voters, the main targets of market orientation, tended on balance to prefer product orientation.

Last updated March 2014