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Journal Article

Partisan Instability in Canada: Evidence from a New Panel Study

Lawrence LeDuc, Harold D. Clarke, Jane Jenson and Jon H. Pammett
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 78, No. 2 (Jun., 1984), pp. 470-484
DOI: 10.2307/1963376
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1963376
Page Count: 15
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Partisan Instability in Canada: Evidence from a New Panel Study
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Abstract

One of the critical questions in the debate about the concept of party identification is its stability over time, particularly its stability relative to that of voting behavior. This article utilizes data from a new three-wave panel study to assess the properties of party identification in Canada, and to compare levels of partisan stability in Canada with those in Great Britain and the United States. In addition to directional stability, other features of the party identification concept and its applicability to Canada are examined, notably the constituency of identification across levels of the federal system. Analyses indicate that party identification in Canada is subject to considerable fluctuation, and that the U.S. pattern of relatively stable party identification coupled with substantial short-term swings in voting behavior reflect the institutional characteristics of the U.S. electoral system. The article concludes by suggesting that patterns of partisanship in Canada, although distinctive in certain respects, probably have important commonalities with those in many other contemporary liberal democracies.

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