Identifying the nature, magnitude and sources of public support for political parties in Portugal: An individual-level analysis
This article reviews the case of the oft-claimed ‘crisis of parties’ in Portugal, and argues that such controversy rests at least in part on ‘ambiguous’ evidence. We will try to answer three fundamental questions: (1) how do Portuguese citizens view and evaluate political parties? (2) What are the sources of public support for political parties in Portugal? And (3) why does anti-party rhetoric resonate with some citizens, but not others? The analysis of empirical data allows the following conclusions. First, citizens’ attitudes towards the parties have a multi-dimensional nature, so it is possible to distinguish two key dimensions conceptually and empirically: diffuse support and specific support for parties. Second, the two types of public support for parties have different sources at the individual level. Third, in the eyes of the Portuguese citizen, parties became a kind of ‘necessary evil’, being criticised for ‘what they actually do’ and supported for ‘what they are supposed to do’.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2011-09-01
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