Volume 47, No. 1 | Articles without a common theme

Jens Olav Dahlgaard, Jonas H. Hansen, Kasper Møller Hansen og Martin Vinæs Larsen | How do opinion polls affect voters? The effect of opinion polls on the Danes’ voting behavior and sympathy for parties

Information like opinion polls can influence public opinion. We present two hypotheses to understand how polls affect voters: First, the bandwagon effect claims that voters “float along”: A party experiencing increased support receives more support and vice versa. Second, the underdog effect claims that a party experiencing declining support receives sympathy votes. Through a survey experiment we find evidence of the bandwagon effect, and the effect is strongest in the positive direction, that is, when a party experiences increased support more will follow. The negative bandwagon effect also finds support, but there is no support for the underdog effect. The effects are in the same direction regardless of the size of the party. We discuss whether publication of opinion polls should be banned.

Søren Kjær Foged | Drivers of contracting out in Danish municipalities, 2007-2013: from general to sector-specific explanations

What explains the use of private suppliers in Danish municipalities? The theory normally identifies four main drivers of contracting out: fiscal stress, municipal size, administrative professionals and ideology, but the empirical findings have so far been contradictory. This article builds upon existing research by developing sector-specific hypotheses regarding the association between the four main drivers and the use of private suppliers. The hypotheses are tested via OLS on four sectors: urban development and environment, road surface, home help for elderly and employment. The data comprises all 98 municipalities from 2007 to 2013. The article finds that the effect of fiscal stress, municipal size and ideology varies significantly across the four sectors, whereas the effect of administrative professionals does not seem to be moderated by sector characteristics.

Helene Marie Fisker | Old friends and new acquaintances: Developments in the Danish interest group population

Interest groups can contribute to a well-functioning democracy as they ensure diversity in the chorus of voices in the political system. Is there more diversity in the Danish interest group population today than earlier? Four different societal developments: new political values, demographic changes, changes in the corporative structures, and the expansion of the welfare state affect how the Danish interest group population has developed in terms of the composition of different group types. There is more diversity in the Danish interest group population today than in the 1970s when economic groups such as unions and business groups were dominant. Today, the population is more balanced between economic groups and civil society groups.

Camilla T.N. Sørensen | Aggressive under certain conditions: A neo-classical realistic analysis of the development in Chinese foreign and security policy

What kind of great power is China? The increasingly prevalent argument is that China is an aggressive one. Chinese activities in the South and East China Sea are especially highlighted as examples of a generally more assertive and ambitious China. Is this the case? No. There is no clear line in or strategy behind the development in Chinese foreign and security policy. A neoclassical realist analysis shows how the ongoing developments in the overall power structure driven by an economically and militarily stronger China present a new room of maneuver for Chinese foreign and security policy and further how concerns of the Chinese leaders about securing their own domestic legitimacy then pull Chinese foreign and security policy in different directions.

Bo Laursen and N. Leila Trapp | Mass media as forum for political debate. Diversity in Danish newspaper coverage of the first political festival in Bornholm

According to normative theories on the public sphere and democracy, inclusive public debates should take place in deliberative democracies, such as Denmark’s, before political decisions are made. These debates, which in Denmark currently mostly take place via the mass media, are intended to ensure that all viewpoints and arguments are considered in the decision making process, so that the public can gain influence and ownership of the decisions. To determine the extent to which the media facilitates public debates that are inclusive, we examined whose viewpoints were presented in the large Danish newspapers’ coverage of a recent political event: the 2011 political festival in Bornholm. We found that the coverage was heavily dominated by politicians’ viewpoints, and that average citizen viewpoints were very infrequently included.

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