Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs

Journal of Political Sciences & Public Affairs
Open Access

ISSN: 2332-0761

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Partisan Differences in Spending Preferences after theNew Democrat and New Labour Transformations of Party Images

David Lowery, Marsha de Jong, Carola J A van Eijk and Sandra Taal

In this paper we wonder whether the efforts of the New Democrats and New Labour to alter their parties’ images with respect to public spending mute the differences (or lack thereof) in their supporters’ preferences for public spending between their respective major parties as observed by Lewis [1] in the UK case and Lowery and Sigelman [2] in the US case. We address this question by constructing matching UK and US data on aggregate public opinion on public spending at four points since 1980, treating the Clinton New Democrat and the Blair New Labour transformations as interventions that might be expected to alter the preferences of partisans for public spending. We find support for the thermostatic model of preferences for spending [3,4] a result that raises questions about the power of party elites to shape the preferences of their supporters in the battle over the size of government.