“Parties, Voters and the Environment”

“Parties, Voters and the Environment”

Policy Brief by Russell J. Dalton, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of California, Irvine

In Canada, the Liberal Party’s advocacy of a “Green Shift” in the 2008 federal elections, and the Conservative Party’s and NDP’s opposition, illustrate how division and choice on environmental policy exists in some party systems. In addition, a Canadian Green Party has gained a significant vote share in recent elections, even winning a parliamentary seat in 2011.

Each nation has its own unique alignment of parties in each election—but our interest is in the broad pattern of party choice in affluent democracies. We want to compare party choices on traditional socio-economic matters, to their positions on environmental protection. To examine the position of parties toward environmental reform across Western democracies, we turn to a survey of party experts conducted by Benoit and Laver (2006). They surveyed almost 1500 experts in 47 nations in 2002-03, including some new democracies in Eastern Europe. We focus on the Western democracies in their study.

 

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