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7 Comp. Pol. Stud. 3 (1974-1975)

handle is hein.journals/compls7 and id is 1 raw text is: 





                      MEASURING ELECTORAL

                                    CLEAVAGES IN A

                            MULTIPARTY SYSTEM

                                      The Canadian Case


                                                  J. A. LAPONCE
                                                     R. S. UHLER
                                   University  of British Columbia




T he techniques most commonly used for the pre-   or postdiction of an
      elector's choice of party-whether simple contingency or complex
regression analysis-have one serious limitation in common: they assume
that the dependent variable offers a choice between a single pair of distinct
alternatives. When applied to the study of two-party systems such as those
of the United  States or Austria, the limitation is of little consequence
since-by  restricting the population of interest to the voters indicating a
party preference-one does in effect restrict the voter's choice to a simple
alternative; when applied to the study of multiparty systems, however,
these same techniques are less useful because the choice offered to the
voter can only be reduced to such an alternative by seriously restricting
and  thus prejudging the  possibilities available to him (an excellent
discussion of this problem is in Rae and Taylor, 1970). In a three-party
system, for example, the well-informed and rational voter who decides to
support party  A  does so not  as an alternative to not-A, but as an
alternative to both B and C. To overcome the limitations of the classical
techniques, we propose, taking Canada and its four-party system as an
example, to measure party cleavages by means of an extension of the logit
model  suggested by Theil (1969; a logit is defined as the logarithm of a
probability ratio), then to translate these cleavages into measures of
AUTHORS'   NOTE: We  are gratefid to Donald Blake and David Elkins for their
comments on an earlier version of this paper.
Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 7 No. 1, April 1974
Q 1974 Sage Publications, Inc.


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