Risky business: Partisan volatility and electoral choice in Canada, 1988
This paper investigates the effects of partisanship, issue concerns and party leader images on voting behaviour in the November 1988 Canadian federal election. The 1988 campaign, characterized by a heated debate between the governing Progressive Conservatives and the opposition Liberals concerning the (de)merits of free trade with the United States, produced a second consecutive Conservative parliamentary majority for only the first time since the end of World War I. This result, coming in the wake of the 1984 'Tory tide' that dealt the then governing Liberals their worst defeat in Canadian history raises the possibility that the 1980s was a period of partisan realignment. Such a realignment, if it occurred, would mark a major change in an electorate that long has been distinguished by partisan weakness and instability (Meisel, 1975; LeDuc et al., 1984). However, analyses of national cross-sectional and panel survey data gathered throughout the 1980s 1 demonstrate conclusively that there has been no realignment and that, similar to earlier elections, voting in 1988 was strongly affected by highly volatile short-term forces. Post-1988 surveys show that partisanship remains weak and unstable, and it is very likely that such forces will remain ascendant in the foreseeable future. © 1992.
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