Obtaining Party Positions on Immigration in Switzerland: Comparing Different Methods

  • Didier Ruedin
  • Swiss Political Science Review, March 2013, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/spsr.12018

Different methods to obtain party positions on immigration

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

What is it about?

Where do political parties stand on immigration? This article examines different methods to place parties on immigration in retrospective. It draws on different methods to extract positions from party manifestos and compares them to expert surveys. I manually coded party manifestos with a conventional codebook, and using a check‐list, but also used automatic coding (Wordscores) and a dictionary of keywords. Moreover, I used a media analysis to examine claims by political parties, and a retrospective assessment of how party positions developed. The data are on Switzerland 1991 to 2011. There are high correlations between many methods, but the different methods tend not to agree on the exact positions.

Why is it important?

Immigration developed into a major political cleavage, and it is important to know where parties stand. There are different methods, and we need to know which ones provide valid estimations.


Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

I started this paper with a genuine question which method I should use. Many methods have been suggested and used, but there was no comparison by anyone who has no stake in the game, so to speak: I have no approach to sell.

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The following have contributed to this page: Didier Ruedin