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The Associative Dimension of Issue Ownership

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2012
Author Walgrave Stefaan, Lefevere Jonas, Tresch Anke,
Project Structures and dynamics of issue competition in two consensus democracies: how political parties set their agendas to attract voters
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Public Opinion Quarterly
Volume (Issue) 76(4)
Page(s) 771 - 782
Title of proceedings Public Opinion Quarterly
DOI 10.1093/poq/nfs023


Issue ownership is commonly conceptualized as multidimensional, consisting of a “competence” dimension and an “associative” dimension. Because existing operationalizations of issue ownership tap only the former dimension, we focus on associative issue ownership: the spontaneous identification between specific issues and specific parties in the minds of voters. Survey evidence from Belgium shows that the associative dimension of issue ownership can be measured, that it differs from competence issue ownership, and that it is an independent determinant of voting behavior.