Journal article

Changing positions without losing face: How parties shift their position on issues


  • 19.04.2022
Published in:
  • Party Politics. - SAGE Publications. - 2023, vol. 29, no. 3, p. 513-526
English Parties face a dilemma when confronted with shifting public opinion or changing rival parties’ issue positions: while ignoring ongoing changes could lead to electoral losses, position shifts on a salient issue might be perceived as flip-flopping and alienate supporters. This paper proposes a model combining positional and framing approaches in order to understand how parties can shift their position on a specific issue without losing face. The empirical analysis of rhetoric-based estimates of party strategies draws upon a corpus of 8790 press releases issued by Swiss parties between 2007 and 2016 on the issue of migration. The results show that parties, rather than bluntly shifting their opinion on the issue, prefer to draw the public’s attention toward another set of frames that allows for a different position. These results have important implications for our understanding of parties’ competition on issues, as well as for the literature on mass-elite linkages.
Faculté des sciences économiques et sociales et du management
Département des sciences de la communication et des médias
  • English
Information, communication and media sciences
Open access status
Persistent URL

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