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Citizens and the European PolityMass Attitudes Towards the European and National Polities$
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David Sanders, Pedro Magalhaes, and Gabor Toka

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199602339

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199602339.001.0001

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Ideological Polarization: Different Worlds in East and West

Ideological Polarization: Different Worlds in East and West

(p.65) 4 Ideological Polarization: Different Worlds in East and West
Citizens and the European Polity

Hermann Schmitt

André Freire

Oxford University Press

Ideological polarization is often understood as threatening the quality of electoral democracy. However, the contrary view has also been expressed, namely that ideological depolarization, by causing electoral fatigue and the rise of anti-system parties, is detrimental to the well-being of electoral democracy. This paper does three things: (a) it explores recent trends in ideological de-/polarization in Europe; (b) it identifies some of the likely antecedents of ideological de-/polarization; and (c) it explores the consequences of ideological de-/polarization with regard to one indicator of the quality of electoral democracy: turnout.

Keywords:   ideological polarization, turnout, quality of democracy

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