Negative and positive party identification in post-communist countries

Richard Rose, William Mishler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


To understand party identification in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, we need to give equal attention to negative partisanship - the identification of a party that an individual would never vote for - as well as positive party identification. Our institutionalist approach posits that in a one-party state the Party will be distrusted, and socialization will encourage people to form a negative party identification. Survey data from 1995 in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovenia show 77% have a negative identification and only 30% are positive; this produces a fourfold typology of open, closed, apathetic and negative partisans. Discriminant function analysis is used to identify political, economic and social structure influences on this typology of partisanship. Negative partisanship is then distinguished between the rejection of ideologically polarizing parties, whether Communist, right-wing, reformist or religious, or the rejection of parties appealing exclusively to a limited segment of the electorate, such as a minority ethnic group. Discriminant function analysis identifies leading influences on the reaction against particular types of parties. The conclusion considers whether post-Communist citizens are more likely to move from negative to positive partisanship or become knowledgeable sceptics, and concludes that the development of knowledgeable scepticism is more likely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-234
Number of pages18
JournalElectoral Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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