Models for Predicting the Dutch Vote along the Left-Right and the Libertarianism-Authoritarianism Dimensions

Published date01 October 1989
DOI10.1177/019251218901000401
Date01 October 1989
279
Models
for
Predicting
the
Dutch
Vote
along
the
Left-Right
and
the
Libertarianism-Authoritarianism
Dimensions
CEES
P.
MIDDENDORP
ABSTRACT.
There
are
two
"fundamental
dimensions
of
ideological
contro-
versy"
in
The
Netherlands
which
are
stable
through
the
period
1970-85:
socio-economic
left-right,
with
egalitarian
implications,
and
libertarianism-authoritarianism
with
the
underlying
value
of freedom.
Both
dimensions
are
"belief
systems"
based
on
highly
interrelated
attitude
scales,
and
both
are
"sustained"
by
stable
philosophical
dimensions:
socialism
and
liberalism
for
the
left-right
dimension,
conservatism
and
authoritarianism
for
the
libertarian-authoritarian
dimension.
The
ordering
of
political
parties
by
means
of
average
scores
of
their
supporters
is
different
on
each
dimension.
Then,
obviously,
two
sets
of
causal
models
can
be
developed,
with
party
preference
along
each
dimension
as
the
dependent
variable.
The
models
developed
in
this
study
contain
social
characteristics
(age,
education,
income,
class
and
religion),
philosophical
dimensions,
ideologi-
cal
dimensions
and,
in
addition,
left-right
and
progressive-conservative
self-identifications.
The
left-right
vote
is
best
predicted
by
left-right
self-
identification
followed
by
a
mixture
of
other
determinants
of
about
equal
strength:
left-right
ideological
position,
socialism,
liberalism,
conservatism,
religion,
social
class
and
income.
The
authoritarian
vote
is
predominantly
determined
by
religion,
followed
at
some
distance
by
left-right
self-
identification,
libertarian-authoritarian
ideology,
conservatism,
socialism,
left-right
ideological
position
and
social
class.
Income
and
liberalism
do
not
play
an
important
role
here.
Age
and
educational
level
have
negligible
effects
as
predictors
of
either
vote.
The
role
of
ideology
as
a
determinant
of
the
vote
in
a
European
context
is
contrasted
with
American
evidence
and
the
content
validity
of
ideological
self-identification
in
terms
of
left-right
is
questioned.
It
has
been
consistently
shown
in
the
past
two
decades
that
the
&dquo;ideological
space&dquo;
in
which
the
Dutch
electorate
can
be
positioned
is
two-dimensional,
which
implies
that
Dutch
voters,
once
so
positioned
by
means
of
average
scores
by
party
supporters
on
the
two
dimensions,
can
be
ordered
in
two
different
ways.
Thus,
to
predict
the
Dutch
vote
by
means
of
causal
models,
we
have
the
choice of
two
possible
orderings
of
the
280
supporters
of
the
parties.
Each
ideological
dimension
can,
separately
or
combined,
be
considered
a
predictor
of
the
vote.
When
the
parties,
on
the
basis
of
mean
scores
of
their
voters,
are
ordered
along
one
dimension,
this
particular
ideological
dimension
will,
of
course,
predict
the
vote
best,
but
since
the
two
dimensions
(left-right
and
libertarian-authoritarian)
are
positively
related
and
since
the
two
party-orderings
are
strongly
related
(see
below),
each
ideological
dimension
has
a
particular
predictive
effect
on
the
vote-whatever
the
dimension
along
which
the
supporters
of
the
parties
are
ordered.
Each
ideological
dimension
is
sustained
by
or
rooted
in
a
more
abstract
philosophical
basis.
It
has
been
shown
that
these
philosophical
roots
of
the
two
ideological
dimensions
also
show
a
stable
structure,
which
is
four-dimensional.
They
can
be
seen
as
fundamental
(causal)
to
the
ideological
stands
of
Dutch
voters.2
2
It
is
assumed
in
the
causal
models
dealt
with
in
this
article
that
the
background
of
ideological
stands
is
formed
by
the
electorate’s
social
characteristics,
such
as
its
educational
level,
age,
income,
social
class
and
religion.
The
philosophical
and
ideological
variables
interpret
the
effects
of
social
characteristics
and
add
explained
variance.
In
addition,
I
consider
the
predicting
effect
on
the
vote
of
Ideological
self-
identification
of
voters
in
terms
of
left-right
and
progressive-conservative.
It
seems
to
me
that
how
people
consider
themselves
is
dependent
on
their
actual
ideological
stands
(rather
than
vice
versa),
but
that
self-identifications
may
play
an
additional
predictive
role
in
voting
behavior.
In
summary,
I
develop
causal
models
in
order
to
predict
the
Dutch
vote
in
which
social
background
variables
are
considered
determinants
of
&dquo;philosophical
stands&dquo;
backing
up
ideological
orientations
as
defined
in
substantial
(&dquo;belief
system&dquo;)
terms.
Finally,
ideological
self-identifications
are
introduced
as
additional
predictors
of
the
vote.
The
central
theme
of
this
article
is
that,
in
such
causal
models,
the
answer
to
the
question
of
which
factors
predict
the
vote
best
is
dependent
on
the
criterion
(ideological
dimension)
according
to
which
the
supporters
of
the
parties
are
ordered.
As
mentioned
above,
there
are
two
basic
criteria
along
which
parties
can
be
ordered,
each
of
which
yields
its
own
set
of
major
predictors
of
that
vote.
Left-right
self-
identification
seems
to
play a
double
role
in
this:
as
shown
below,
it is
related
to
both
substantial
ideological
dimensions.
First,
I
outline
the
way
in
which
the
Dutch
ideological
space
has
been
conceptualized;
then
I
rank-order
the
supporters
of
the
parties
along
each
dimension
and
investigate
their
determinants
in
causal
models.
The
Two-Dimensional
Ideological
Space
of
the
Dutch
Electorate
A
brief visit
to
the
American
scene
seems
a
good
place
to
begin.
Although
the
concept
of
&dquo;ideology&dquo;
has
been
dealt
with
firmly
and
fruitfully
in
the
United
States,
its
role
as
a
determinant
of
the
vote
has
hardly
been
considered
seriously
by
researchers
dealing
with
election
studies.
As
is
well
known,
there
are
basically
two
traditions
in
American
voting
studies:
one
is
that
of
the
Columbia
School,
which
relates
voting
to
social
characteristics
such
as
social
class,
income,
religion
and
region;
the
other
is
that
of
the
Michigan
School,
with
its
emphasis
on
party
identification,
issues
and
candidates.
It
is
within
the
tradition
of
this
school
that
issues
rather
than
ideology
(belief
systems)
were
taken
up
as
determinants
of
the
vote,
since
Converse
(1964)

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