THE THIRD WAY: THE RIGHT WAY OR NOT? A Cross-national Attempt to Measure Social Democracy in Motion

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1 THE THIRD WAY: THE RIGHT WAY OR NOT? A Cross-national Attempt to Measure Social Democracy in Motion Hans Keman Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Department of Political Science Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Revised: March/April 2003 An earlier version of this paper was presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions. I thank Frank Castles (Edinburgh) and the other panel members for his helpful comments.

2 Biography: Dr. Hans Keman is Head of Department and holds the Chair of Comparative Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He is editor-in-chief of the Acta Politica. He has published on comparative politics and its methodology, public policy formation, the welfare state, economic policy-making and on party systems and the functioning of governments. Among his latest publications is an edited volume on Comparative Democratic Politics. A Guide to Contemporary Theory and Research (2002). Abstract In this article I examine whether there is evidence for programmatic change towards Third Way policies within social democratic parties in Europe. The findings are that social democratic parties across Europe have indeed adopted Third Way ideas. This movement towards Third Way ideas appears to coincide with an overall convergence of the party systems in Western Europe. The development and the move of social democratic parties towards the center of gravity of their party system does however not lead to an increase in the social democratic vote share. In addition our analysis shows that there is little effect of programmatic change on social democratic policy making; there is for instance no sign of the abandonment of the traditional welfare state. Hence the adoption of the Third Way by the social democrats has hitherto not led to a fundamental transformation of Social Democracy. Given the overall changes in West-European party systems, the adoption of Third Way ideas appears an attempt to maintain the electoral and governmental appeal of Social Democracy. Keywords: Social Democracy, Parties, Elections, Government, Policy Performance 1

3 THE THIRD WAY: THE RIGHT WAY OR NOT? A Cross-national Attempt to Measure Social Democracy in Motion Having the same job for life is a thing of the past. Social Democrats must accommodate the growing demands for flexibility and at the same time maintain minimum social standards, help families to cope with change and open up fresh opportunities for those who are unable to keep pace (T. Blair/G. Schroeder: The Third Way/Die Neue Mitte) 1. Introduction Social Democracy can be characterised by its ambivalence as a political movement: on the one hand, it aims seriously at changing society for the benefit of those who are in need, and on the other hand it must strive to gain office and to direct the desired policies within parliamentary democracy. More often than not this ambition to change society for the better fell short because of lack of power and the necessity to govern in coalitions (Schmidt, 1982; Keman, 1990; Kitschelt, 1999). It is telling therefore that the Blair/Schroeder Declaration quoted starts of by stating that Social Democrats are in government in almost all the countries of the Union. In other words Social Democracy has the power and according to this document the will to change not only contemporary society, but also as a political movement. This paper investigates, first of all, the question to what extent Social Democracy has indeed changed across Europe. To this end I shall first discuss in section 2 the programmatic change of social democratic parties regarding the welfare state: the institutionalisation of entitlements to work, welfare and income on the basis of social justice. In section 3 I shall explore the shift from the ideology of the traditional welfare state to the ideas of the so-called social investment state, i.e. as part of the Third Way ideology on the basis of their programmes (using the Manifesto Research database; see: Budge et al., 2001). I shall measure this over time ( ) change by means of two scales: one representing the traditional social democratic position Social Welfare ; the other indicating the new direction of Social Democracy 2

4 Social Investment. As we shall see, there has been a shift in policy positions of a number of social democratic parties towards the Third Way. I shall then turn to the question whether or not this change in ideology has been dictated by vote- and office-seeking behaviour in terms of party competition (Strøm, 1990; Mair, 1997). Finally, I will try to establish to what extent the change in policy priorities has had an impact on social democratic policy making. In other words: does the Third Way matter or is it merely political rhetoric? Our comparative analysis comprises 17 social democratic parties and their main competitors in: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Norway and Switzerland are not member of the EU. These cases are included for their own sake, as well as for the controls sake (since Third Way developments tend to be inside EU; see: Cuperus et. al., 2001). Due to the process of federalisation in Belgium there are since 1978 two party systems at work in a federalising Belgium. Therefore the Flemish and Walloon party systems are treated as separate cases. The period under review is measured at a 5 years interval for all variables (see the Appendix for further information). The crossnational analysis is carried out on the level of parties as well as on the level of governments. 2. A new direction? From welfare state to social investment state Social democracy emerged in response to the challenges posed by industrial capitalism and the concomitant ideology of (progressive) liberalism. Its strategy was contrary to revolutionary socialism to regulate capitalism by a mixture of trade unionism, political representation and urging state intervention. In the course of the last century and especially after World War II, social democratic parties gained governmental office. In the course the modern welfare state arose, providing social security for those in need and guaranteeing equality by way of state action, particularly in core areas like education and health. At the same time Keynesian ideas on controlling the economy in order to stabilise macro-economic developments, 3

5 in particular to regulate the labour market belonged to the policy domain of Social Democracy (also: Castles, 1978; Korpi, 1978; Esping-Andersen, 1985; Keman, 1990) Since the 1980s the social democratic ideas on socio-economic policy-making have slowly been changing. Social democrats have adapted to a process by which the welfare state became a political issue for dispute. Not its (qualitative) expansion and universal character has been at stake, but rather its dismal effects on society and government which was seen to be conducive to less economic resilience (see: Keman, 1993; Kitschelt, 1994; Pennings, 1999). The reasons for this transformation are various. In a world of open international markets and fast-moving capital flows, traditional leftwing policies are often seen as discouraging domestic investment and undermining national competitiveness. Traditional socialist goals of public ownership or political control are no longer considered effective in a global financial economy. The internationalisation of economies rendered Keynesean polities seemingly outdated and ineffective. In this interpretation, left governments are prisoners of a harsh global economic environment in which generous welfare appear no longer sustainable (Kitschelt 1999; Merkel, 2001). Similarly the impact of European integration and particularly the monetary union have also severely constrained the room for manoeuvre of the European left (Scharpf, 1991; Huber and Stephens, 1998). The electoral success of (neo)liberal parties during the 1980s and 1990s also contributed to the social democratic disadvantage and forced it to follow electoral defensive strategies (Green-Pedersen et. al., 2001). A final moral blow was the collapse of the Soviet regime that undermined a belief in the virtues of economic planning and étatism. The term Third Way is by no means new. It already figured in discussions within social democratic movements directly after the Second World War (Esping- Andersen, 1985; Keman, 1990; Van Kersbergen, 1995). The usage of the term faded especially after the Bad Godesberg declaration (1959) of the SPD and instead the major discussion terms were democratic socialism and Keynesian welfare statism. Precisely these general tenets are disputed by the present propagators of the Third 4

6 Way -thinking. In the Blair/Schroeder paper, for instance, it is stated that traditional Social Democracy is flawed because it (Cf. Green-Pedersen et. al., 2001): Confuses social justice with equality of outcome; Confounds achieving equality with higher levels of public spending and taxing; Beliefs that state intervention could prevent (or remedy) market failures; Distorts the rights of individuals and hence the balance between the individual and the collective. Elevates often rights over responsibilities and so the idea of mutual obligations tends to be lost. In summary: the balance between socialism and capitalism tends to disappear and with it the relationship between citizen and state is under pressure (Merkel, 2001; Giddens, 2000) The concept of the Third Way seeks to renew Social Democracy in addressing these issues as well as taking into account contemporary challenges associated with globalisation, individualism, political polarity, agency, the new dialogue with science & technology, ecology and the transformation of values and lifestyles. According to the Blair/Schroeder paper these issue areas, and in particular those relating to welfare statism, are conducive to a change in policy stance of the new social democracy: Macro-economic policy should be directed at sound public finances, i.e. no deficit spending but rather allowing for tax cuts (against big government ). Welfare state programmes ought to aim at transforming the existing safety net of entitlements into a springboard to individual development and carrying personal responsibility (against universal entitlements). Labour market policy-making must be developed that promote individual responsibility, labour market mobility and the flexibility of the labour force (i.e. education permanence and lifelong employability) 5

7 It is this platform of Third Way ideas and the associated proposals for social democratic policy formation that is the point of departure in answering the question to what extent European Social Democracy has turned into a Third Way direction. In the remainder of this paper I shall focus on the socio-economic policy component of the Third Way discourse. Welfare state policies have always been central to social democratic policy formation. If social democrats have adopted Third Way policy stances, so I argue, this will have its greatest impact on welfare state policies; both in terms of programmatic change and actual policy-making as regards work & welfare (Cuperus & Kandel, 1998; Scharpf, 2001; Pennings, 1999; Kitschelt, 1999). To summarise: the Third Way approach so far: the traditional welfare or: social security state should be replaced by the social investment state. In the social investment state social justice is no longer to be achieved by an ex-post reduction of socio-economic inequalities, but by providing equality of opportunities (Giddens 1998). Employment and employability are the key issues in a social investment state: welfare to work. The access to employment should be facilitated through the provision of education and thereby establishing equality of opportunity. The central policy idea is that the state has the responsibility of guaranteeing access to certain goods but the state need not directly provide these goods. Welfare in a social investment state presupposes a correct balance between incentives, opportunities and obligations for its citizens: no rights without responsibilities (Giddens, 1998: 65). Social justice defined by inclusion is no longer to be solely achieved by the state, but also by the market. Traditional social democratic trust in the state as problem-solver by means of public goods makes way for an increasing faith in the market allocating resources and creating jobs: controlling the economy and thereby developing public welfare. Third Way supporters argue that the social investment state is not a social democratic capitulation to neo-liberalism: social justice and emancipatory politics are still at the core of its program. A reformed welfare state still has to meet criteria of social justice and provide for citizens in need. That means that social democrats 6

8 intend to keep a reasonable level of welfare spending and that they reject the neoliberal position to privatize and to deregulate large parts of the welfare state or endeavour retrenchment of the social security systems, leaving only a safety net for those who cannot care for themselves. The development from traditional Social Democracy to the Third Way can therefore be summarised as the abandonment of an explicit policy stance regarding a generous social welfare state with a high degree of state interventionism. As an alternative to this generous welfare state there is a movement towards a social investment state favouring work and market regulation instead of rigid (if not conditional) welfare entitlements and state interventionism regarding the market economy (Scharpf, 2001; Van Kersbergen, 2000). In section 3 the extent and direction of change within social democratic parties with respect to their programmatic policy stance will be scrutinized. I will consider first the question whether or not (and to what extent) they moved position in terms of left versus right within the respective party systems, indicating a development from a traditional to a modern type of social democratic party. 3. Social democratic ideas: From Left to Right? In order to measure the change in position of social democratic parties regarding welfare policies I use data from the Manifestos Research Group (Budge et al., 2001). This dataset provides information on the policy positions of the parties. If social democratic parties have moved position and, in particular, have indeed changed their preferences for a social welfare state into a social investment state, this can be traced from their party manifestos (or: electoral platform). Manifestos play an important role at election time when public attention centres on these documents. While few voters ever read the document, it is certain to be disseminated by the media, thus it is a good measure of the change and movement of social democratic policy stances regarding the organization of the welfare state. 7

9 I measure the social democratic party positions in a threefold way: (1) by looking at a Third Way scale; (2) by using an Electorate oriented scale and (3) by employing a Left versus Right scale. The latter scale, which has been developed by the Manifesto Research Group (see: Budge & Laver, 1992; Klingemann et al., 1994; Budge et al., 2001), is considered here as a standard to assess not only the movement of social democratic parties as such but also of the national party systems under review here (Keman, 1997). The Electoral scale, which I name Working Class-Appeal, is meant to observe whether or not a change in policy stance has also implications for targeting certain groups in society. In other words, is the original social democratic constituency which used to be the working class still an important target of Third Way socialism? Finally the Third Way-scale is of course developed to measure the change and movement towards a policy position away from the social welfare state towards a social investment state, as discussed in section 2 (see the Appendix for details). I consider this latter scale as a useful proxy measure (see also: Pennings, 1999). For in a highly developed welfare state government tries to control the economy and soften the negative effects of the market system by means of a high level of social security spending and other ways of state interventionism (Schmidt, 1989) 1. Conversely, the social investment state presupposes a more reserved stance of government vis-à-vis direct market interventions. In the social investment state government gives more way to the market and assumes that the market is capable to ensure job growth and a reasonable level of allocation of income. One condition for this to happen is that everybody is capable to participate in the market. This is provided for by educational programmes, which would foster a flexible supply of labour. Another prerequisite is, of course, the instalment and development of active labour market policies (Castles, 1998: Ch. 5 &6). The abandonment of a traditional social democratic policy also may imply that the social democratic parties are turning towards new electorates. A shift towards the Third Way may be an attempt to move beyond their traditional working class 8

10 electorate and to open up votes from the (upper)middle class. The original emphasis of Social Democracy on the traditional welfare state clearly coincides with the interests of the labour movement and less advantaged groups on the labour market (Korpi, 1978). If there is a tendency towards Third Way policy stances, these groups may well get less attention or even negative attention in party programs. Issues regarding the middle class could well be mentioned more frequently instead of those related to the working class constituency. 2 This is a tenable proposition given the fact that de-industrialization has changed the composition of the overall electorate. If there is a change towards Third Way policies a comparison with a Left-Right scale will enable us to establish if the change in welfare policies has been sui generis or that it has been accompanied by an overall change in Left-Right positioning of the party systems. The adherents of the Third Way believe that they have overcome the Left versus Right distinction and they see the Third Way as an alternative perspective of Social Democracy. Hence, if a shift in the Third Way-scale strongly correlates with a shift in Left-Right positioning, this would mean that there is little or nothing unique about the Third Way. It would rather be another reflection of the Left-Right distinction that has moved over time as part of the party system within a country. Figure 1: Aggregated Movements along the Scales used (N = 17; ) RILE Mean , , , , , ,00 ELECT WC-Appeal YEAR In figure 1 the aggregated means of the party systems on the Third Way-scale (TWscale); the Left-Right scale (Rile) and the Working Class-Appeal (WC-Appeal) 9

11 are presented. The results indicate that the structure of the party systems has since the 1970s moved from the left to the right in a rightward direction, i.e. towards the centre of gravity of the party system. Only the electorate the salient constituencies addressed by the parties remains quite stable. This development can be illustrated by looking at the relevant correlations. Whereas the attention for the working class population is negatively associated with the Left-Right position of all parties, the Third Way-scale is indeed strongly related to the Left versus Right scale (pearsons r=.78) and again negatively related with the working class population (pearsons r= -.31). Hence, both the centre of gravity and the Third Way ideology appear to move into the same direction at more or less the same rate. Figure two demonstrates the same development for the social democratic party family per se: Figure 2: Social democracy through time RILE Mean , , , , , ,00 TWSCALE WC-Appeal YEAR Obviously a development towards Third Way policy stances can be observed. The strength of this movement however varies over time. In 1990 there is a sharp rise in favour of the social investment state. This reinforces the idea that there is a general trend across Europe: away from state intervention and welfare statism. Social democratic parties follow this trend. Another reason for this movement, or even convergence, in particular after 1990 may well be an effect of the European integration process specifically the Maastricht Treaty and the introduction of the EMU criteria on domestic macro-economic policy making. All in all, I conclude 10

12 that the overall movement of Social Democracy is directed to a more centrist position. The movement on the Third Way-scale more to the middle of the distribution (= 0) is closer than the Left-Right scale, is as well as the overall change is considerably larger. As already mentioned, the electoral groups addressed (or: targeted constituency), i.e. in the case of social democratic parties the working class, remain rather constant over time. Table 1: Aggregated scores of Parties on Right versus Left, Third Way and Working Class Party Positions Appeal ( ) All Parties Social Democracy Mean Change Mean Change Right-Left Minimum Maximum SD Third Way Minimum Maximum SD WC Appeal Minimum Maximum SD Note: See Appendix for values of individual parties; N of All Parties = 291 N of Social Democratic Parties =100, SD = Standard Deviation. The most striking result from Table 1 is the strong isomorphic developments that have taken place in most party systems. Although the movement of social democratic parties is more pronounced the differences are nevertheless limited. Only the working class constituency remains unchanged, but the actual level of appeal is, again, similar for all parties under review. 11

13 Secondly it should be noted that the cross-party variation is not only large but also evenly distributed in terms of minimum and maximum values. Hence the movement among the parties is contrary to that of party systems quite divergent. This is in particular the case for the social democratic parties, albeit that the development towards a Third Way position appears to have been arrested (-1.3 points). In addition, it appears that change is dominated by Social Democracy in terms of extreme values. As shown in Table 1: the range regarding change for all parties is identical with social democratic parties. This implies that exactly this party family is quite divergent. Some parties are still close to their original ideology whereas others clearly have crossed borders towards the right. Hence Third Ways have emerged, but at the same time it is also clear that many social democratic parties in Europe have remained true to their original ideological position. From these observations I infer that not only the movement toward a Third Way position is a general one across party systems and not confined to Social Democracy alone, but also that to a large extent the position of many social democratic parties still tends to be leftish (in the traditional sense). In Table 1 of the Appendix the changes in policy position on the three scales are listed in detail for all the social democratic parties in our analysis. This detailed listing confirms the previous observations and shows that there is considerable cross-national variation regarding the change in policy positioning of the social democrats. For example the Swiss and Norwegian social democrats seem to be the most stable parties regarding their policy position on the Third Way-scale (see also Volkens, 2001). Conversely the main propagators of the Third Way, British Labour and the German SPD show considerable change. Below the British and German cases are separately visualised. These figures clearly strengthen the general idea that these parties have moved toward the centre of gravity of their respective party system. Apparently both Blair and Schroeder have benefited from leaving behind the traditional left wing issues by stressing the values the new left. 12

14 Figure 3: Labour party UK RILE -40 Labour TWSCALE , , , , , ,00 Labour Figure 4: SPD Germany Mean RILE , , , , , ,00 Mean TWSCALE Interestingly, both cases show a similar pattern, but the British case is much more dramatic than the German one. One could say that the German SPD was heading for the centre of gravity of the party system before Labour changed its direction. Secondly once again I observe that the party system as a whole is moving away from left wing positions towards the middle. These case-level observations only reinforce the general pattern observed. I hold the view that all parties, and the social democratic ones in particular, have changed course because of vote and office seeking motives. A movement towards the 13

15 Third Way direction expresses this strategy. Therefore I shall now turn to the question whether or not this change in ideology has indeed influenced the vote- and office-seeking capacity of social democratic parties in particular. 4. The power resources of Social Democracy: Votes and Office As is clear from section 3: the overall trend in Europe is a changing point of gravity within the respective party systems in combination with a simultaneous movement of Social Democracy away from its traditional policy stance as regards the welfare state. This is what is considered as an indicator of Third Way politics. The question I shall now turn to is to what extent party system change and the new politics of Social Democracy have affected its power resources, i.e. votes and office (Keman, 1993; Kitschelt, 1999). Wolfgang Merkel (2001: 33 ff.) notes that European Social Democracy has experienced almost historically high levels of voters support (30.9%) and participation in government (43.5%). This is, however, a slightly optimistic interpretation: if one corrects his figures for the Mediterranean countries then the average is lower and this concerns the level of participation in government too. Hence the question begging for an answer is to what extent vote and office seeking behaviour drive Third Way politics. And, whether or not this strategy is paying off? Table 2: Vote- and Office Seeking by social democratic parties [ ] Indicator: Period: Vote Share (%) Net Volatility (%) Share in Gov (%) Note: see Appendix for the description of the variables [N= 100]. From the aggregated overview across time and across 17 democracies it appears that little or no change has occurred. Actually, the vote share has gone down (- 3.3%), government participation also remains roughly the same. Judging the increase in net 14

16 volatility, it appears that the floating vote seems to become more important (+3.0%). Viewed in this way one could well suspect that the Third Way is not only a result of modernising the ideological baggage of Social Democracy but is also born out of necessity: to maintain its share in political power. I expect therefore that the observed changes in social democratic ideological stance have as much to do with vote- and office-seeking behaviour as with the changing social and economic situation and the related challenges of the new century (see: Sassoon, 1998; Scharpf, 2001). Parties viewing government participation as their main goal play down their ideology in order to maximise their votes or in order to become attractive coalition partners. This assertion is in accordance with the Downsian model of party competition, which predicts that parties are not primarily ideologically driven but predominantly tend to follow voter preferences to maximise their votes (Budge, 1993). Apparently social democratic parties have followed a vote maximising strategy regarding their policy stances as well as regards their Left versus Right position and accordingly have moved towards the centre of gravity of their party system. In addition it follows that given this movement towards the centre that the Third Way politics has become more prominent and may well have a greater bearing on the votes and offices gained (Cuperus and Kandel, 1998). In Table 3 I have reported the correlations between the programmatic development of social democratic parties and indicators of votes and offices. The relationships given are measured in level and change for non-left parties (Table 3.1 and 3.3) and then for the social democratic parties only (Table 3.2 & 3.4). This allows us to draw conclusions for the general impact of party change as well as to inspect the specific impact of Third Way politics in particular. 15

17 Table 3.1: Bi-variate relations between party positions and votes & office of parties not belonging to the social democratic party family [ ] Variables Right-Left Third Way WC Appeal Vote Share Left parties in.169*.181* -.152* cabinet Cabinet.174*.187* -157* Composition Net Volatility.161* Note: All results are Pearson product moment correlations; significant results are flagged (*); N = 183/191; see Appendix for description of the variables. Table 3.2: Bi-variate relations between party positions and votes & office of social democratic parties Variables Right-Left Third Way WC Appeal Vote Share -.277* -.281* Left parties in cabinet Cabinet Composition Net Volatility -.197* * Note: See table 3.1 for explanation; N = 96/100; see Appendix for details. Table 3.3: Bi-variate relations between party positions and change in votes & office of parties not belonging to the social democratic party family Variables Right-Left Third Way WC Appeal Vote Share Left parties in cabinet Cabinet Composition Net Volatility Note: See table 3.1 for explanation; N = 151/157; see Appendix for details. 16

18 Table 3.4: Bi-variate relations between party positions and change in votes & office of social democratic parties Variables Right-Left Third Way WC Appeal Vote Share.224* Left parties in cabinet Cabinet Composition Net Volatility Note: See table 3.1; N = 70/76; see Appendix for description of the variables. Although the relationships are quite moderate, nevertheless a pattern can be observed if I only take into account the significant results. First of all, party differences in terms of Left versus Right do not have much bearing on the vote share of non-left parties [Table 3.1]. In other words: party competition is, as measured by programmatic differences, becoming less apparent [see also Table 3.3]. This needs not to surprise us since I have observed that party differences are diminishing. More important, so it seems, are the programmatic differences with respect to government participation: both the Left versus Right scale and the one concerning Third Way politics appear relevant (and note that change over time does not alter this observation). In other words: the profile of social democratic parties appears hardly to influence negatively the share in votes and offices for the other parties. This conclusion is, however, less tenable if I focus on social democratic parties only: The role of party differences as well as of a Third Way profile appear not to pay off in an increase in votes nor in more government participation [see Tables 3.2 & 3.4]. Yet, at the same time it can be observed that a more traditional position in terms of Left versus Right, on the one hand, and Working Class appeal appears to influence the core constituency and thus vote of Social Democracy (Keman, 1993; Kitschelt, 1994). From Tables 3.2 & 3.4 it appears that the more social democratic parties tend to move away from a leftish position and relax their Working Class appeal, the less office is gained in government. I conclude therefore that a programmatic change towards the centre of the party system, with or without a Third Way profile hardly affects the 17

19 vote seeking capacity of social democratic parties, but also does not harm its office seeking capabilities. As far as change of Social Democracy occurs it appears to result in a trade-off: votes against office. Third Way politics appear merely to be a function of a general shift in party systems (see also Table 1 and Figure 1 and 2) and it seems to enhance, albeit moderately, the position of Social Democracy as a governing party in European coalitions at present. In order to establish more in detail how these programmatic differences have indeed an impact I shall specify our findings by means of regression analysis. Point of departure is that party differences remain important although they seem to work indirectly. The first model to specify the various effects of programmatic differences aim at explaining the social democratic vote share. As can be inferred from Tables 3.1 to 3.4 other elements than programme alone do effect the electoral outcome. On the one hand, Working Class appeal representing the core constituency of Social Democracy and electoral volatility representing the floating vote are considered as relevant factors. On the other hand, the literature on electoral outcomes generally suggests that the socio-economic situation (here indicated by means of the degree of misery, i.e. the combined influence of unemployment and inflation) is a condition influential of electoral performance 3. This is particularly true for social democratic parties (see Hibbs, 1992; Kitschelt, 1999; Pennings, 2002) The results of the vote-seeking model for Social Democracy are reported in Table 4.1. The first equation represents the full model, containing all relevant variables. The second equation contains only political variables. Whereas the third equation is driven by earlier observations that the core constituency is an important factor and, of course, includes the variable Third Way politics being the crucial variable regarding the leading research question of his article. 18

20 Table 4.1: Vote Share of social democratic parties Dependent Variable: Vote share Social Democracy Period (N=109) (N=63) Equation Intercept Independent variables Right-Left (-.17) (-.37) (.78) (-.10) Third Way -.12 (-.76) -.14 (-.84) -.20* (-2.01) -.28 (-.135) -.27 (-1.22) -.28* (-2.29) WC Appeal -.25* (-2.43) -.25* (-2.35) -.22* (-2.27) -.28* (-2.26) -.34* (-2.48) -.33* (-2.70) Net volatility.21*.23* (2.16) (2.36) (.45) (.51) Misery.19* (1.94) * (3.36) - - Adjusted R² * % 11.1% 6.2% 31.0% 14.1% 14.3% Note: OLS regressions; coefficients are standardized; T-values between parentheses (..); significant results are flagged: *. The foremost conclusion to be derived from Table 4.1 is that there is a dilemma: The vote share of Social Democracy is not enhanced by the extent to which Working Class appeal is generated, but the floating vote is a compensating factor. Conversely the stronger the core constituency, the less the floating vote will be. This appears to be a valid statement for the whole period under review ( ), but is not visible any more during the 1990s. On the other hand, Third Way politics is not enhancing the social democratic vote share either. This dilemma neither traditional programmes nor third ways has the desired effect seems to be corroborated in the full model (#1): socio-economic circumstances remain a powerful factor enhancing the social democratic share of the vote. Yet the most overriding result remains that the programmatic development of social democratic parties has little or no significant bearing on its vote seeking capacity [see equation 3 for both periods]. Hence, as an electoral strategy programmatic neither continuity nor change pay off in more votes for Social Democracy in Europe. To put it even stronger: Social Democracy gains little to nothing from its movement to the centre of gravity of party systems and the role of the core constituency is negative. That is: the floating vote 19

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