What is it about?

Often we can hear that immigration is a political topic that cuts across or overlaps traditional ideological divisions between parties. Many studies have examined the positions radical right parties take on immigration, but left-wing parties were largely ignored in this regard. We draw on newspaper contents in seven Western European countries to examine the positions of left-wing parties. We demonstrate that in many cases traditional divisions coincide with divisions over immigration: It is incorrect to assume that immigration as a political topic necessarily cuts across traditional cleavages.

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Why is it important?

There is no doubt that immigration plays a big role in contemporary Western European politics. To understand political competition on the issue, we need to know how different parties place themselves, and how they react to other parties.


I remember vividly the dicsussion we had about this in the SOM project many years earlier, and thanks to the analysis of the newspapers we are now in a position to give an empirical rather than a theoretical answer. We were also quite keen not to use data from party manifestos in this case, because manifesto data capture electoral competition -- not necessarily the same we do here.

Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

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This page is a summary of: The positions mainstream left parties adopt on immigration, Party Politics, June 2018, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1354068818780533.
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