Mainstream parties in Western Europe are increasingly struggling to hold together their base of support. As a lens for exploring this changing electoral landscape, this article focuses on the growing share of the electorate that is cross-pressured between conservative and progressive attitudes on economic and cultural issues. It argues that a stable asymmetry characterizes Western European mass attitudes: while support for the left is common among voters with progressive attitudes on both issues, it is enough to be conservative on one issue to turn right. Analyzing survey data collected from 1990 to 2017, the study shows that cross-pressures are resolved in favor of the right and examines the trade-offs this poses to center-right parties. These findings contribute to debates on electoral dealignment and realignment and shed light on the electoral choices of the center-right.
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- comparative politics
- cross pressures
- public opinion