This book adapts a formal model of elections and legislative politics to study party politics in Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Britain, and the United States. The approach uses the idea of valence, that is, the party leader's non-policy electoral popularity, and employs survey data to model these elections. The analysis explains why small parties in Israel and Italy keep to the electoral periphery. In the Netherlands, Britain, and the US, the electoral model is extended to include the behavior of activists. In the case of Britain, it is shown that there will be contests between activists for the two main parties over who controls policy. For the recent 2005 election, it is argued that the losses of the Labour party were due to Blair's falling valence. For the US, the model gives an account of the rotation of the locations of the two major parties over the last century.
• Authors are internationally renowned authorities on the subject • Broad coverage of the US, UK, Italy, Netherlands, and Israel will appeal to many area studies and international studies academics • Broad use of survey data is combined with useful models of elections and legislative politics
1. Multiparty democracy; 2. Elections and democracy; 3. A theory of political competition; 4. Elections in Israel 1988–1996; 5. Elections in Italy: 1992–1996; 6. Elections in the Netherlands: 1979–1981; 7. Elections in Britain: 1979–2005; 8. Political realignments in the U.S.; 9. Concluding remarks; 10. References; 11. Tables and figures.