ON THE MEASUREMENT OF PARTY CLASS POSITIONS: THE CASE OF CANADIAN FEDERAL POLITICAL PARTIES

Authors


  • *I am indebted to the Canada Council and the H.H Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan for financial support during the time when this research was done. I am also indebted to P. Converse, W. Gamson, G. Iversen, D. Segal, R. Pierce, M. Heirich, M. Schwartz, M. Pinard, and R.F. Hamilton for reactions to various parts of the research of which this is a part. None of the above bears any responsibility for the opinions expressed here.

Abstract

La classification standard de la position de classe des partis politiques canadiens a étéétabli par Robert Alford dans son très important ouvrage, Party and Society. La classification d'Alford est reexaminée en utilisant six mesures distinctes. Cinq des six sont en désaccord avec Alford. Les Libéraux sont souvent vus comme relativement conservateurs alors que quatre mesures placent le Crédit Social comme plus libéral que les deux partis principaux. Cette analyse est suivie d'une discussion de la mensuration de la position de classe d'un parti et d'un essai d'explication du cas du Canada. On suggère qu'un modèle à deux dimensions soit utilisé pour la classification des partis politiques.

The standard classification of the class positions of Canadian political parties was established by Robert Alford in his very important book, Party and Society. Alford's classification is re-examined using six separate measures. Five out of six disagree with Alford. The Liberals are often seen as relatively conservative while four measures place Social Credit as more liberal than both the major parties. Discussion of measurement of party class positions and an attempt at explanation of the Canadian case follows. It is suggested that a bidimensional framework be used to classify political parties.

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