While spatial models of electoral choice and party competition posit a convergence towards the position of
the median voter, empirical elections, especially to the European Parliament, are often dominated by parties
that assume rather extremist positions. The envisaged project accounts for centrifugal tendencies in European Parliament elections by a two-step model:
- It will begin with an evaluation of centrifugal tendencies in electoral behavior which stem from spatial (symbolic politics and directional voting; institutional stalemate and the discounting model) and nonspatial motives (party identification, retrospective voting, valence).
- It will then link electoral behavior with dominant strategies adopted by vote-maximizing political parties.
The project's findings are of high substantive significance, because they explain why issue entrepreneurs may successfully mobilize extremist and/or euroskeptic constituencies in some member states, but not in others.