This article examines the relationship between Christian religiosity and the support for radical right parties in Western Europe. Drawing on theories of electoral choice and on socio-psychological literature largely ignored by scholars of electoral behaviour, it suggests and tests a number of competing hypotheses. The findings demonstrate that while religiosity has few direct effects, and while religious people are neither more nor less hostile towards ethnic minorities and thereby neither more nor less prone to vote for a radical right party, they are not ‘available’ to these parties because they are still firmly attached to Christian Democratic or conservative parties. However, given increasing de-alignment, this ‘vaccine effect’ is likely to become weaker with time.
Over the last three decades, the parties of the “Extreme”, “Radical” or “Populist” Right have become a political staple in Western Europe. However, comparative evidence on the motives of their voters is relatively scarce. This article assesses the empirical effects of the most prominent alleged motivational factors “pure” (i.e. performance related) protest, anti-immigrant sentiment, and neo-liberal economic preferences – on the extreme right vote while controlling for a whole host of background variables. While protest and neo-liberalism have no statistically significant impact whatsoever, immigrant sentiment plays a crucial role in all countries but Italy. Its effect is moderated, however, by general ideological preferences and party identification. Consequentially, comparative electoral research should focus on the circumstances under which immigration is politicised.
The propensity of workers to vote for the Extreme Right has risen significantly. This “proletarisation” is the result of the interplay between a long-term dealignment process and increasing worries amongst the European working classes about the immigration of cheap labour. As a result, Western European Centre Left parties may find themselves squeezed between the New Right on the one hand and the New Left on the other. There is no obvious strategy for dealing with this dilemma. Staying put will not win working class defectors back. Toughening up immigration policies is unpalatable for many party members, does not seem to make Social Democrats more attractive for working class voters, and might eventually alienate other social groups
Kestilä and Söderlund (2007) examine the impact of subnational political opportunity structures on the success of the radical right and argue that such an approach can control for a wider range of factors and provide more reliable results than cross-national analyses. The present article disputes this claim on theoretical, conceptual and methodological grounds and demonstrates that their empirical findings are spurious.
Over the last 15 years or so, analyses of the Extreme Right’s electorate(s) have become a minor industry within the larger context of (comparative) Political Sociology. By necessity, this chapter aims at summarising the main findings from this research program, but cannot strive for a comprehensive presentation of all that has been achieved during these…
This is a comparative piece on right-wing populism in Austria and Germany that I co-authored as a PhD student back in the 1990s when I was young, careless, and heavily under the influence of Herbert Kitschelt’s monograph on the Radical Right in Western Europe [in German].
Dies ist eine vergleichende Analyse der Wählerschaften der Repulikaner (REP), der FPÖ und der FDP am Ende der 1990er Jahre