OM LIBERALA PARTIERS (UTEBLIVNA?) VALFRAMGÅNGAR Betydelsen av makro-kompetens
This bachelor thesis examines a paradox in the literature of political science, namely the rather weak electoral support for liberal parties in Western Europe. As a starting point, the focus lies on the debate whether it is ideological position (Downs, 1957) or “valence” issues (Stokes, 1963) that mainly decides the electoral outcome. The hypothesis drawn from earlier research says that it is the “valence” or competence of liberals that explain their poor results, rather than their position on the left-right scale which often is quite near the median voter (Zur, 2021). I conduct an illustrative case study of the Swedish Liberal Party based on data from the Swedish National Election Studies (SNES), 1979-2018. A measure of macro- competence is used to determine the party’s “valence” across time. The independent variable is based on voters' perceptions about the party’s policies on different issues. The results show a small effect of macro-competence on electoral results, controlling for the distance between the Liberal Party and the average voter. However, these results are not statistically significant until an outlier is excluded. Therefore, they have to be interpreted carefully. This study hopefully contributes to the literature about voting behavior and party competition.