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parties in all our countries, and scoring them according to absolute left-right extremes that cut across party systems. To simplify the scoring task, we do not attempt to capture and express the full range of variation between the most extreme positions possible on each issue. Instead, we limit our scoring to the subcategories "weak," ''moderate,'' and ''strong'' within each of the pro-con categories. Allowing for a zero or "neutral" point in this scale, we thus develop a basic seven-point scale, ranging from ''strong negative'' to ''strong positive" issue orientations. Later we will see how this scale unfolds into an eleven-point scale after introducing the distinction between party program and party practice.

4. Distinguishing between issue "consensus" and issue 'irrelevancy." A political issue can be defined as a social problem for which a vigorous division of opinion exists on the nature or appropriateness of government action toward solving the problem. A proposal for a given governmental policy which is routinely accepted in one country, however, may generate intense controversy in another. While such a proposal constitutes a political issue in the latter country, it may be judged "irrelevant" to politics in the former country. If we exclude issues that are judged irrelevant to party politics in certain countries because they elicit settled rather than divided opinion, we introduce severe problems for comparative cross-national analysis. For example, are the religious parties in a two-party theocracy not to be coded as "clerical" because there is no strong popular sentiment for the separation of church and state? To avoid these problems and promote cross-national comparisons, we interpret "division of opinion" from an international rather than national perspective. If the issue is pervasive enough to be selected for study, then we have established that sufficient division of international opinion exists to make the issue relevant to all countries, even though opinion on it is firmly settled within given countries and the issue is not significant for national politics. Instead of treating this issue as irrelevant" to the country, we treat it as one that features a consensus. Therefore, we strive to score every party on every issue.

5. Handling discrepancies between party "program" and party "practice." Discrepancies between party program and party practice are commonplace in American politics, because our national parties, once in power, often fail to enact legislation that is promised in party platforms. One could argue that parties ought to be scored on performance and not promise, but strict reliance on this approach presents both practical problems of comparability across parties and conceptual problems in establishing the purpose of identifying a party's issue orientation. At the practical level, one can best detect differences between program and practice for governmental parties, which are given the opportunity to practice what they preach. Because smaller nongovernmental parties may not assume responsibility for formulating governmental policy, their programs need not be so constrained by worldly matters. As a result, tests for issue orientation prove to be more severe for governmental parties (more properly, Duverger's "majority bent" parties) because we contrast what they say to what they do, when given the opportunity.

At the conceptual level, we ask ourselves the purposes of identifying a party's issue orientation. One purpose is to analyze public policy outputs according to different party inputs, including issue orientation. A second is to analyze bases of support according to issue orientation. Both of these purposes appear to be served by scoring parties primarily on their programs. Discrepancies between the issue orientation of a governing party and its policy output can be isolated and analyzed more effectively when the practice is not hopelessly confounded in its issue orientation score. The second purpose also seems to be better served by scoring parties primarily on their programs, for this is the face that parties present in seeking popular support.

While these arguments favor program over performance in determining issue orientation, it seems appropriate to temper a party's score on issue orientation with knowledge of discordant practices, when these are known--which is similar to the procedure used by Meisel in scoring the issue orientations of Canadian parties (1967). We thus treat party program as being equal in importance with party practice in our operationalization. of issue orientation, allowing for inconsistencies between program and practice to average into an intermediate score. Scores are assigned to parties as they are positively or negatively oriented toward (favor or oppose) the issue in question (see Table 6.1).

If the literature refers to either the program or the practice of the party and it notes no difference between the two, they are assumed to be equivalent and the party is scored along the diagonal (± 1, ±3, or ±5). Given a stated discrepancy between the two, the party is scored from the appropriate cell off the diagonal. In the extreme case of a difference in sign between program and practice, the party is assigned the mean score, observing negative and positive signs.

TABLE 6.1: Scheme for Coding Party Program and Practice

Party's Position as Stated in Its Program Is

Party's Position as Shown in Practice Is








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