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Mismatched Preferences for Responsiveness: Danish Voters and Politicians

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Responsiveness is key in democratic systems and can be perceived as a continuous interaction between voters and politicians. However, only limited research has studied the alignment or potential mismatch between voter and politician preferences regarding responsiveness. This article examines how voters' and politicians' preferences for responsiveness differ and suggests reasons for the identified differences. It proposes two factors leading to different preferences: recruitment of highly educated politicians and party-organised elite politics. Using survey data collected among Danish voters, candidates and MPs, the article documents a mismatch between politicians' and voters' preferences for responsiveness: politicians prefer party responsiveness, while voters prefer constituency responsiveness. In line with expectations, voters with a shorter education have stronger preferences for constituency responsiveness, while incumbent MPs are even more party-oriented than challenger candidates. These findings highlight potential troublesome consequences of the increasingly educational-elitist recruitment and continued party organisation of legislative politics for the representative relationship between voters and politicians.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Political Studies
Pages (from-to)148-169
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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