How Voters' Perceptions of Junior Coalition Partners Depend on the Prime Minister's Position

David Fortunato, James Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Recent studies document that voters infer parties' left‐right policy agreement based on governing coalition arrangements. This article extends this research to present theoretical and empirical evidence that European citizens update their perceptions of junior coalition partners' left‐right policies to reflect the policies of the prime minister's party, but that citizens do not reciprocally project junior coalition partners' policies onto the prime minister's party. These findings illuminate the simple rules that citizens employ to infer parties' policy positions, broaden understanding of how citizens perceive coalition governance and imply that ‘niche’ parties, whose electoral appeal depends upon maintaining a distinctive policy profile, assume electoral risks when they enter government.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)601-621
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Coalition politics
  • Niche parties
  • Party positions
  • Voter perceptions

Cite this