The dynamics of issue introduction: A model based on the politics of ideology
Many topics might be discussed in the course of any election, but problems that are in fact discussed, and which affect the electorate's choice, are located in the issue space of a relatively small dimension. Two factors contribute to this phenomenon: (a) party platforms are usually presented to the electorate as packages of issues, and (b) candidates tend to emphasize only a few particular issues in the campaign. We model a dynamic process of changing the issue space by candidates as a matter of their campaign strategy and study factors causing changes in the dimensionality or/and in the structure of the set of issues shaping the political conflict in the election. We show how particular features of an added new issue can change voter perceptions of the candidates or the structure of the political conflict in the election when the new issue is such that (1) voters care about it, (2) a majority of voters are interested changing the status quo of anything associated with this issue, and (3) the existing ideological differences among the candidates have clear reflections in voters' minds. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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