Multidimensional incongruence and vote switching in Europe

Ryan Bakker, Seth Jolly, Jonathan Polk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Does ideological incongruence hurt parties in elections? Research on the representational relationship between parties and voters suggests that ideological congruence can boost a party’s electoral prospects. However, while the mechanism is at the individual-level, most of the literature focuses on the party-level. In this article, we develop a set of hypotheses based on a multi-issue conception of party-voter congruence at the individual-level, and examine the electoral consequences of these varying congruence levels in the 2014 European Parliament elections. Consistent with our expectations, comparative analysis finds that ideological and issue-specific incongruence is a significant factor in voting behavior in the European Parliament elections. Although the substantive effects of incongruence are understandably small compared to partisanship, government, or EU performance evaluations, party-voter disagreement consistently matters, and voters’ issue salience is an important moderator of the impact of incongruence on vote choice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-296
Number of pages30
JournalPublic Choice
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Elections
  • European Union
  • Incongruence
  • Parties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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