Mapping the Digital Landscape: An Analysis of Party Differences between Conventional and Digital Policy Positions
Although digitization is a buzzword in almost every election campaign, the political parties leave voters largely in the dark about their specific positions on digital issues. In the run-up to the 2019 elections in Switzerland, the ‘Digitization Monitor’ project (DMP) was launched in order to change this situation. Within the framework of the DMP, all 4,736 candidates were surveyed about their digital policy positions and values. The DMP is designed as a digital policy supplement to the existing ‘smartvote’ voting advice application. This enabled a direct comparison of the digital policy attitudes according to the DMP with the topics of the ‘smartvote’ questionnaire which are comprehensive in content but mainly related to conventional policy areas. This paper’s main research goal is to analyze and visualize possible differences between conventional and digital policy areas in terms of response patterns between and within political parties. The analysis is based on dimensionality reduction methods (multidimensional scaling and principal component analysis) for the visualization of inter-party differences, and on standard deviation as a measure of variation for the evaluation of intra-party unity. The results reveal that digital issues show a lower degree of inter-party polarization compared to conventional policy areas. Thus, the parties have more common ground in issues on digitization than in conventional policy areas. In contrast, the study reveals a mixed picture regarding intra-party unity. Homogeneous parties show a lower degree of unity in digitization issues whereas parties with heterogeneous positions in conventional areas have more united positions in digital areas. All things considered, the findings are encouraging as less polarized conditions apply to the debate on digital development compared to conventional politics. For the future, it would be desirable if in further countries similar projects to the DMP could emerge to broaden the basis for conclusions.Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 392
 Jacob, D., Thiel, T.: Einleitung. In: Jacob, D., Thiel, T. (eds.) Politische Theorie und Digitalisierung, pp. 7-26. Nomos, Baden-Baden (2017).
 Pettitt, R. T.: Contemporary Party Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills / Basingstoke (2014).
 Neuroni A., Kissling-Näf I., Riedl R.: E-Government und smarter Staat: Die Schweiz auf halbem Weg. In: Stember J., Eixelsberger W., Spichiger A., Neuroni A., Habbel F.-R., Wundara M. (eds.) Handbuch E-Government, pp. 163-180. Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden (2019).
 Marschall, S.: Profiling users. In: Garzia, D., Marschall, S. (eds) Matching Voters with Parties and Candidates: Voting Advice Applications in Comparative Perspective, pp. 93–104. ECPR Press, Colchester (2014).
 Germann, M., Gemenis, K.: Getting out the vote with voting advice applications, Political Communication 36(1),149–170 (2019).
 Fivaz, J, Neuroni, A., Schwarz, D., Ferri, C.: Digitalisierungsmonitor 2019. Analysebericht mit Fokus auf digitale Demokratie und Digitalisierungspolitik in der Schweiz. BFH, Bern (2020).
 Ladner, A.: Die Positionierung der Schweizer Parteien im internationalen Vergleich. In: Mazzoleni, O., Meuwly, O. (eds.) Die Parteien in Bewegung. Nachbarschaft und Konflikte, pp. 201-228. NZZ Libro, Zürich (2013).
 Hutter, S., Kriesi, H.: Politicizing Europe in times of crisis. Journal of European Public Policy 26(7), 996–1017 (2019).
 FORSbase: Digitalisierungsmonitor 2019 (dataset), https://forsbase.unil.ch/project/study-public-overview/16500/0/, last accessed 2020/05/13.
 Smartvote: National Council elections 2019, https://www.smartvote.ch/de/group/2/election/19_ch_nr/home, last accessed 2020/05/13.
 FORS: Selects (Swiss Election Study), https://forscenter.ch/projects/selects/, last accessed 2020/05/13.