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Where do Radical Right Parties Stand? Position Blurring in Multidimensional Competition

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This article questions the utility of assessing radical right party placement on economic issues, which has been extensively analyzed in academic literature. Starting from the premise that political parties have varying strategic stakes in different political issues, the article considers political competition in multiple issue dimensions. It suggests that political competition is not simply a matter of taking positions on political issues, but rather centers on manipulating the dimensional structure of politics. The core argument is that certain political parties, such as those of the radical right, seek to compete on neglected, secondary issues while simultaneously blurring their positions on established issues in order to attract broader support. Deliberate position blurring – considered costly by the literature – may thus be an effective strategy in multidimensional competition. The article combines quantitative analyses of electoral manifestos, expert placement of political parties, and voter preferences, by studying seventeen radical right parties in nine Western European party systems.
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Wheredoradicalrightpartiesstand?Positionblurringin
multidimensionalcompetition
JanRovny
EuropeanPoliticalScienceReview/Volume5/Issue01/March2013,pp126
DOI:10.1017/S1755773911000282,Publishedonline:29February2012
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European Political Science Review (2013), 5:1, 1–26
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European Consortium for Political Research
doi:10.1017/S1755773911000282
First published online 29 February 2012
Where do radical right parties stand? Position
blurring in multidimensional competition
JAN ROVNY*
Center for European Research, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Go
¨teborg, Sweden
This article questions the utility of assessing radical right party placement on economic
issues, which has been extensively analyzed in academic literature. Starting from the
premise that political parties have varying strategic stakes in different political issues,
the article considers political competition in multiple issue dimensions. It suggests that
political competition is not simply a matter of taking positions on political issues, but
rather centers on manipulating the dimensional structure of politics. The core argument is
that certain political parties, such as those of the radical right, seek to compete on
neglected, secondary issues while simultaneously blurring their positions on established
issues in order to attract broader support. Deliberate position blurring – considered costly
by the literature – may thus be an effective strategy in multidimensional competition.
The article combines quantitative analyses of electoral manifestos, expert placement of
political parties, and voter preferences, by studying seventeen radical right parties in
nine Western European party systems.
Keywords: radical right; spatial theory; obfuscation; dimensionality
Introduction
Today’s radical right is said to be ‘right-wing’ due to its nationalistic, authoritative,
anti-cosmopolitan, and especially anti-immigrant views. The economic placement of
the radical right is, however, debated. While earlier works point to neo-liberal stances
of radical right parties, studies of the social bases of these parties point to significant
support from traditionally left-leaning constituencies. Recent scholarship argues that
radical right parties abandoned their outlying economic positions and shifted closer
toward the economic center (Kitschelt, 2004; De Lange, 2007).
This article, however, questions the utility of assessing radical right party place-
ment on economic issues. It suggests that politics is a larger struggle over the issue
content of political competition. Political parties are invested in different issue
dimensions, and thus prefer competing on some issues over others. Consequently,
parties emphasize their stance on some issue dimensions, while strategically evading
positioning on others, in order to mask the distances between themselves and their
voters. This article argues that parties, such as the radical right, may successfully
* E-mail: jrovny@gmail.com
1
adopt a strategy of deliberate position blurring. In light of such competition, taking a
position may be neither an appropriate party strategy, nor an adequate academic
expectation.
This argument underlines the limits of spatial theory in capturing party competition.
While spatial theory conceptualizes political competition as position taking, this article
underlines the strategic utility of position avoiding or position blurring.Thisdimen-
sional approach to political competition considers issue positioning, issue salience,
and strategic positional avoidance in a multidimensional context. This approach
explains the apparent variance of radical right economic placement as an outcome of
these parties’ conscious dimensional strategizing – of deliberate position blurring.
This article combines quantitative analyses of electoral manifestos, expert
placement of political parties, and voter preferences based on multiple public
opinion surveys. It considers 17 radical right parties in nine Western European
party systems. I first review the literature on radical right ideological placement.
The second section introduces a dimensional approach to party competition,
detailing general party strategies in multidimensional contexts, while generating
specific hypotheses about the radical right. The third section discusses the data
and operationalization. The fourth section presents the analyses and results, while
the final section serves as a conclusion.
Where do radical right parties stand?
Scholarship on radical right parties agrees on many of their ideological char-
acteristics. It suggests that radical right parties rely on emotive appeals to national
sentiments defined in ethnic terms; reject cosmopolitan conceptions of society;
react to rising non-European immigration; oppose globalization and reject European
integration which they see as undermining national sovereignty and identity; and
brand themselves as anti-parties, criticizing domestic political elites as corrupt and
removed from the ‘common people’ (see Betz, 1994; Kitschelt and McGann, 1995;
Taggart, 1995; Mudde, 1996; Hainsworth, 2000, 2007; Hooghe et al., 2002; Kriesi
et al., 2008). Rydgren (2005) argues that the rise and success of the radical right is
associated with the development and diffusion of effective ideological ‘master frames’.
The frame, pioneered by the French Front National in the 1970s and 1980s, combines
ethno-nationalism and populist anti-establishment rhetoric, without being overtly
racist or anti-democratic. It infuses the previously marginalized radical right with a
potent ideological model, allowing it to ‘‘free itself from enough stigma to be able to
attract [new] voters’’ (Rydgren, 2005: 416).
This frame, however, says little about radical right economic positions. The rise
of radical right parties in Western Europe is associated with a backlash against the
‘excessive role of the state’ in the economy, and the power of labor unions (Ignazi,
2003). Earlier literature suggests that radical right parties present a ‘‘classical
liberal position on the individual and the economy’’ (Betz, 1994: 4). Kitschelt and
McGann suggest that the radical right must adopt a ‘winning formula’ consisting
2JAN ROVNY
of authoritarian and nationalistic social appeal coupled with extreme neo-liberalism,
‘‘calling for the dismantling of public bureaucracies and the welfare state,’
demanding a ‘‘strong and authoritarian, but small’ state (1995: 19 and 20; McGann
and Kitschelt, 2005).
Recent literature considering the social bases of radical right support, however,
underscores the cross-class character of radical right voters. Evans (2005: 92)
finds that radical right parties attract both self-employed and manual workers,
and that continental radical right parties also increasingly attract routine non-manual
workers, further diversifying the radical right class base. Ivarsflaten (2005: 490) shows
that the self-employed and manual worker supporters of the radical right hold sig-
nificantly different views on the economy, pointing to the radical right ‘‘electorates’
deep division over taxes, welfare provisions and the desirable size of the public sector’’.
Similarly, Kriesi et al. (2008) argue that radical right parties represent disparate ‘losers’
of globalization.
1
Due to declining identification with workers’ parties and organi-
zations, manual workers are likely to consider more electoral choices, not necessarily
solely on the basis of their economic views, but also on the basis of their authoritarian
tendencies (Bjørklund and Andersen, 1999).
Then how do radical right parties respond to the diverse economic interests
among their ranks? Mudde underlines the increasing orientation toward social
market economy in radical right party literature, bringing these parties’ positions
close to Christian democratic parties, or even the social democratic ‘third-way’
(2007: 124). Derks (2006) suggests that in order to capture disenchanted indus-
trial workers hurt by globalization, post-industrial society and the supply of
cheaper immigrant labor, radical right parties use a mix of egalitarianism and
anti-welfare chauvinism. Similarly, Kitschelt’s (2004: 10) recent work reflecting
on the radical right constituency’s division over economic policies, moderates his
‘winning formula’. He claims that radical right parties may not be on the extreme
economic right, but rather on the ‘‘market-liberal side of the political spectrum’’ –
a stance demonstrated by the few radical right parties which have attained
executive office (Kitschelt, 2007: 1183). Testing Kitschelt’s restated ‘winning
formula’ on three cases, De Lange (2007) empirically supports the claim that
radical right parties have shifted their position to the economic center.
This conceptual approach suggests that radical right parties hold discernible
positions on major ideological dimensions. In fact, the study of the radical right –
in line with the scholarship on political parties and actors in general – uses spatial
conceptions to account for party and voter placement. Kitschelt and McGann
(1995), McGann and Kitschelt (2005) and Kitschelt (2007) analyze the ideal
stance of radical right parties in the form of the ‘winning formula’. Van der Brug
et al. (2005) explain radical right electoral success using party evaluations based
on spatial proximity measures. Bjørklund and Andersen (1999) suggest that
1
This evidence revisits Lipset’s (1981) decades-old concept of working class authoritarianism.
Where do radical right parties stand? 3
radical right voters in Scandinavia are positioned between the major left- and
right-wing parties on economic issues. Ivarsflaten (2005) emphasizes the vulner-
ability of radical right parties, given the spatial differences among their voters on
economic issues. Finally, Rydgren (2005: 418) notes that radical right success
starts with spatial electoral niches where there are ‘‘gaps between the voters’
location in the political space and the perceived position of the parties’’ .
2
Spatial theory provides a classical understanding of political competition by
conceptualizing it as spanning continuous issue scales, simplified into issue
dimensions (Hotelling, 1929; Downs, 1957).
3
Parties take positions within this
dimensional structure in response to voter distributions. For spatial theory, the
dimensional structure of political space is an assumed context within which
competition occurs. Consequently, the spatial tradition sees competition as a
contest over party positioning with respect to voters, who minimize the aggregate
distance between themselves and the party they vote for in n-dimensional space.
The application of spatial theory to radical right party study has been modified
importantly by Meguid (2005, 2008). While utilizing spatial representation of
competition among mainstream parties and radical right parties, Meguid con-
siders not only party positioning, but also issue salience and issue ownership. This
leads her to formulate a strategic game in which radical right parties present new
political issues into political discourse, and mainstream parties choose to engage or
dismiss these issues, thus either boosting or lowering their salience (2008: 28). This
broadens the spatial conception of political competition by showing how issue
salience allows strategic interaction between parties that are not spatial neighbors.
Meguid’s work highlights how the inclusion of issue salience and ownership
opens new strategic possibilities in party competition. Its implications are, how-
ever, even more profound. When political actors invest salience into new cross-
cutting political issues, they are introducing new issue dimensions and redefining
the political space where competition occurs. Under these conditions, parties are
likely to be invested more in some dimensions than others. Although they are
likely to take clear positions on the dimensions of their primary interest, it may be
logical for them to avoid taking clear stances on the dimensions in which they
are not invested. Taking positions may thus be an inappropriate strategy in
the context of multidimensional competition – and consequently, its study. Thus,
the question ‘where radical right parties stand’ may not be the right one to ask.
The next section turns to an analysis of the implications of multidimensional
party competition in greater detail.
2
A significant outlier to this approach is Mudde (2007: 135–137) who considers the discourse of
radical right parties, underlining their ‘schizophrenic’ positioning.
3
Originally, spatial competition was conceptualized in a single dimension. Later models have relaxed
the assumption of uni-dimensionality; their aim, however, was only to test whether and under what
conditions equilibrium solutions hold in multiple dimensions (Chappell and Keech, 1986; Enelow and
Hinich, 1989; Schofield, 1993).
4JAN ROVNY
Dimensional approach
The dimensional approach to competition introduced by this article is based on
two core premises. First, the structure of political competition is not merely a
fixed stage, but rather is itself the subject of competition. This approach under-
stands political competition as a contest over the presence and bundling of poli-
tical issues into various issue dimensions. Competition is then a contest over
which issues or issue dimensions dominate political discourse and voter decision-
making. Political parties thus do not only take positions on issue dimensions, they
actively seek to alter the structure of competition to their advantage by manipulating
these issues.
The second premise of the dimensional approach is that parties do not merely
respond to voter preferences by taking positions, but that they also seek to affect
voters’ choices through emphasizing certain issues in political campaigns. This is
borrowed from issue ownership and salience theory (Budge and Farlie, 1983;
Budge et al., 1987; Petrocik, 1996), which argues that parties strategically increase the
salience of those issues on which they hold advantaged positions, while trying to mute
issues somehow harmful to them. The relationship between voter preferences and
party strategies is thus more complex than that spatial theory suggests. Parties may on
the one hand fill popular niches by championing publicly salient, but politically
untapped issues. On the other hand, parties may affect the popular salience of issues
by either emphasizing or ignoring them.
4
The dimensional approach points to two theoretically separate party strategies –
issue introduction and position blurring. First, as originally formulated in Riker’s
(1982, 1986) heresthetics, political parties tactically alter political competition by
introducing novel issues into political discourse (see also Budge et al., 1987;
Carmines and Stimson, 1989; Rabinowitz and Macdonald, 1989; MacDonald
et al., 1991). Introducing a new issue may produce a new dimension of political
conflict and create a competitive niche for its protagonist, particularly if the issue
does not naturally fold into the standing structure of competition. A party may
also wish to introduce a new issue on which it is likely to be viewed favorably.
Finally, a party may choose to introduce a new political issue with the aim of
creating tensions within competing parties, thus weakening them.
Second, political parties may strategically avoid stances on some dimensions of
multidimensional political conflict, and engage in what this article terms position
blurring. Since political parties may have different stakes in different issue
dimensions, they may not simply mute the salience of issues secondary to them.
Rather, parties may attempt to project vague, contradictory or ambiguous posi-
tions on these issues. The aim of the strategy is to mask a party’s spatial distance
4
These premises are consistent with spatial theory, as they effectively entail emphasizing (spatial)
differences on a dimension that previously either lacked salience or where no differences between parties
existed.
Where do radical right parties stand? 5
from voters in order to either attract broader support, or at least not deter voters
on these issues. Position blurring is unlikely to be a successful strategy if applied
on all issues. However, in the context of competing along one or few issue
dimensions, blurring positions on other dimensions may be beneficial.
This is a contradictory expectation to the ‘obfuscation’ literature in American
politics, which almost invariably concludes on both formal and empirical grounds
that taking ambiguous positions is a costly strategy (Shepsle, 1972; Enelow and
Hinich, 1981; Bartels, 1986; Franklin, 1991; Alvarez, 1998). This literature, however,
considers uni-dimensional competition. Blurring positions on a unique dimension of
conflict is a profoundly different situation to blurring positions on some dimensions,
while presenting clear stances on others. Position blurring on some dimensions may be
a rational strategy in the context of multidimensional issue competition.
Position blurring may take on different forms. First, parties may avoid pre-
senting a stance all together. More frequently, parties may present vague or
contradictory positions on a given issue dimension. Mudde (2007: 127) reports,
for example, that many radical right parties mix appeals for low taxation and
privatization with economic protectionism, particularly in the agricultural sector.
This ideological profile combines stances which are not usually connected, as
most parties associate low taxation and privatization with economic liberalism.
Misaligning stances on issues commonly attached to a unique dimension allows
parties to blur their general dimensional positioning, while giving them the
opportunity to present different voters with contradictory programs. Position
blurring can thus appear as either a lack of a position, as concurrent multiplicity
of positions, or as positional instability over time.
The strategies stemming from dimensional competition carry different costs.
The parties facing higher costs to issue introduction and position blurring are
likely to be established political parties with long-standing histories, organiza-
tional apparatuses, core constituencies, and well-entrenched ideological images.
They are likely to face organizational and ideological barriers to shifting political
salience to new issues and blurring their positions on others. Established, main-
stream parties are likely to find it harder to convince their membership and core
constituents of the merits of adopting new issues and obscuring their positions on
old ones. Their ideological heritage is likely connected with the historical devel-
opment of social cleavages in their polity (see Lipset and Rokkan, 1967). This
means that their political stance is known and entrenched, and their appeal
stickier. Consequently, blurring positions on secondary issues may be futile and
new issue introduction may spark crippling divisions.
On the contrary, radical right parties are less constrained in new issue intro-
duction and position blurring. They entered European party systems in recent
decades as outsiders ostracized by political elites. Furthermore, they have cen-
tralized, hierarchical organizational structures that favor top-down decision-
making patterns (Heinisch, 2003). This gives them organizational facility in
strategically contesting the dimensional structure of party competition.
6JAN ROVNY
Moreover, radical right parties face an electoral incentive for employing these
dimensional strategies. As the literature on radical right social bases suggests,
there is a dimensional discrepancy to radical right support. Radical right voters
share an ideological affinity on non-economic, socio-cultural issues, such as
immigration or law and order, while they are divided over the economy. This
argument implies that radical right voters have different preference distributions
across issue dimensions. This leads to the following hypotheses.
HYPOTHESIS 1: Radical right voters hold significantly more dispersed economic
positions than major party supporters, while being less dispersed
on non-economic, socio-cultural issues.
Consequently, radical right parties face different stakes in different issue
dimensions. They are induced to compete on non-economic, socio-cultural issues
by overemphasizing them in their discourse.
HYPOTHESIS 2: While major parties place comparable emphasis on both non-
economic and economic issues, radical right parties overemphasize
non-economic issues, while muting economic issues.
This article argues that while competing on the non-economic dimension, radical
right parties do not merely deemphasize economic issues. In order not to deter sup-
porters with divergent economic outlooks, radical right parties also present blurred
stances on the economic dimension. The positional ambiguity of radical right parties
on the economy can be analyzed across data sources, across party types and over time:
HYPOTHESIS 3A: The assessment of radical right party positions on economic
issues significantly diverges across data sources, while the eva-
luation of their non-economic positions is largely consistent.
HYPOTHESIS 3B: Voters and experts are significantly less certain about radical right
party placement on economic issues than about the economic
placement of other party types.
HYPOTHESIS 3C: The assessment of radical right party positions on economic
issues manifests significantly greater fluctuation over time than
that of major parties.
The strategic increase in non-economic issue salience combined with position
blurring on the economic dimension on the part of the radical right is likely to
have positive electoral effects. By shifting emphasis toward their preferred issue
dimension and distorting their economic stances, radical right parties attract their
voters on the basis of non-economic, rather than economic issue considerations.
HYPOTHESIS 4: While voters consider both economic and non-economic issues
when voting for major parties, they consider primarily non-economic
(and not economic) issues when supporting the radical right.
Where do radical right parties stand? 7
Despite its benefits, position blurring has its limitations. Upon entering gov-
ernment, parties become responsible for implementing explicit policies, which
circumscribes their ability to present vague or multiple positions, and forces them
to take clear stances. Furthermore, parties with ambiguous views who succeed in
entering government may face public embarrassment. The fate of some radical
right parties, particularly the Austrian Freiheitliche Partei O
¨sterreichs (FPO
¨),
which lost substantial public support after entering governments, underlines
this point (Heinisch, 2003; Luther, 2003; Fallend, 2004). Although an effective
strategy in opposition, position blurring becomes a liability in government.
HYPOTHESIS 5: Government participation limits position blurring of radical right
parties.
Data and operationalization
This article limits itself to contemporary (early to mid 2000s) Western Europe, where
scholars argue the political space can be depicted in two dimensions.
5
The first
dimension relates to economics, ranging from state-directed redistribution to market
allocation. The second dimension relates to non-economic, socio-cultural issues,
concerning such factors as lifestyle choice, national identity, immigration, and religious
values, and it ranges from socially liberal, alternative politics to socially conservative
and traditional politics (Kitschelt, 1992, 2004; Laver and Hunt, 1992; Hooghe et al.,
2002; Benoit and Laver, 2006; Marks et al., 2006; Vachudova and Hooghe, 2009).
Since the second dimension tends to be more complex and loosely structured, this
article refers to it simply as the non-economic dimension (Rovny and Marks, 2011).
To locate parties on these dimensions, this article uses the 1999, 2002, and 2006
Chapel Hill Expert Surveys (CHES), which place parties on an economic left–right
scale and on green, alternative, and liberal vs. traditional, authoritarian, and
nationalist policies (Steenbergen and Marks, 2007; Hooghe et al., 2010). In order to
test hypotheses 1 and 4, concerning voter preferences, the article utilizes the European
Social Survey, 2006 (ESS).
6
To test hypothesis 2, concerning the salience parties
attach to different issues, the article uses the Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP)
data set (Budge et al., 1987; Volkens et al., 2011). Table A2 in the Appendix lists
the CMP categories that were used to construct an additive measure of salience
for the economic and the non-economic dimensions. To test hypotheses 3a, 3b
and 3c, concerning issue position blurring, the article combines four public
opinion surveys: the World Values Surveys, 1999–2000 (WVS), the 2004 European
5
Although a two-dimensional political space is certainly a simplification, two dimensions are suffi-
cient for capturing the key dynamics of issue emphasis and position blurring.
6
The ESS data set is preferred to the other public opinion survey data for three reasons. First, unlike
the ISSP, the survey provides economic, as well as non-economic voter preferences. Second, it is generally
considered to be of higher quality than the WVS. Finally, the ESS, 2006 overlaps with the 2006 CHES
data, which makes it particularly appropriate for this study. It should be noted that using the ISSP, WVS,
and EES data instead leads to substantively comparable results.
8JAN ROVNY
Election Study (EES), the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), 2006, and the
ESS, 2006.
7
It also assesses the long-term positional stability of parties using the
CHES data sets. The CHES data set also provides a basis for testing hypothesis 5
concerning the effects of government participation.
The article considers all Western European parties generally referred to as radical
right, populist right, extreme right, or neo-fascist by the party literature (cf. Golder,
2003; Norris, 2005; Kitschelt, 2007). The case selection is, however, constrained by
the data.
8
Consequently, the article is limited to the study of 17 radical right parties in
nine countries. These are: FPO
¨and Bu
¨ndnis Zukunft O
¨sterreich (BZO
¨)inAustria;
Front National (FN) and Vlaams Blok/Belang (VB) in Belgium; Fremskridtspartiet
(FP) and Dansk Folkeparti (DF) in Denmark; True Finns in Finland; Front National
(FN) and Mouvement pour la France (MPF) in France; Die Republikaner (REP),
Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NPD) and Deutsche Volksunion (DVU)
in Germany; Laiko
´sOrtho
´doxos Synagermo
´s (LAOS) in Greece; Alleanza Nazionale
(AN) and Lega Nord (LN) in Italy; and Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF) and Partij voor de
Vrijheid (PVV) in the Netherlands. Table A3 in the Appendix contains the details.
Major parties are operationalized as the most significant political parties on
either side of the left–right spectrum in each party system. These parties are either
the primary governing parties or the main opposition parties. In cases where more
parties can be considered as major right or major left parties, all such parties are
included. See Table A3 in the Appendix for details.
Finally, it should be stressed that each analysis considering party placement variance
measures voter or expert deviations from party-specific means. Consequently, the
natural differences between party positions are removed from the analyses.
Analyses and results
Radical right voters and issue dimensions
This section tests hypothesis 1, showing that radical right voter preferences are
highly dispersed on the economic dimension, compared to the preferences of
major party supporters. Simultaneously, radical right voter positions are sig-
nificantly more compact on the non-economic dimension, as compared to major
7
To construct economic and non-economic scales of voter preferences, I use factor scores from
separate factor analyses on the economic and non-economic items of each data set. The specific items
used for each dimension in a given data set are listed in Table A2 in the Appendix. The 2004 EES only
includes a question about general left–right self-placement. It does not contain any specific issue items
that may be used for constructing an economic and non-economic dimension. However, its questions
asking voters to place parties in their party system on the general left–right scale are very appropriate for
testing hypothesis 3b.
8
The CHES data sets, which are central to the dimensional analyses, do not cover Norway and
Switzerland, while some radical right parties score below 3% cutoff of the data set, and thus are not
included. The CMP data set tends to cover only electorally larger parties, hence a number of smaller
radical right parties are not covered (see Table A3 in the Appendix for details).
Where do radical right parties stand? 9
party voters. Table 1 presents a summary of party-specific standard deviations of
radical right and major party supporters on the two dimensions. It considers each
voter’s deviation from party-specific mean voters, thus removing the differences in
individual party placements. This analysis utilizes the ESS, 2006 survey because it
provides data on both the economic and non-economic dimensions and it is
contemporaneous with the CHES 2006 data used later.
The statistics in Table 1 suggest that radical right voters have a greater variance
around their party’s mean voter on economic issues. The variance ratio test shows
that this variance is significantly greater than those of either the major right or major
left parties. The radical right voter dispersion on the non-economic dimension is
significantly smaller than that of major left parties, and almost identical to that of
major right parties. Hypothesis 1 is thus supported with the caveat that radical right
and major right supporters have the same dispersion on non-economic issues.
The causal order between the radical right voter and party positioning is unclear. It
is difficult to say whether some voters support radical right parties because of the
parties’ clear non-economic stances and vague economic stances, or whether radical
right parties adjust their stances to fit these voter distributions. However, given these
distributions of radical right supporters, there exists a political niche combining
authoritarian positions on non-economic issues with a broad and dispersed economic
placement, allowing the capture of wider economic constituencies. The next sections
consider how radical right parties behave in light of this electoral niche.
Radical right parties and issue salience
Testing hypothesis 2, this section suggests that rather than contesting the
entrenched issues of political competition, radical right parties highlight nation-
alism, ethnocentrism, and general opposition to the political establishment. Their
main issue domain thus lies not on the primary, economic dimension, but on the
secondary, non-economic dimension.
Table 1. Variance ratio tests of voter positions
Economic dimension Non-economic dimension
NStd. dev. NStd. dev.
Major right 3612 0.967 3382 0.870
Radical right 522 1.093 466 0.871
Variance ratio test F (3611, 521) 50.783, P,0.000 F (3381, 465) 50.999, P,0.511
Major left 2942 0.88 2706 0.952
Radical right 522 1.093 466 0.871
Variance ratio test F (2941, 521) 50.655, P,0.000 F (2705, 465) 51.196, P,0.007
Variance ratio test of voter placement. Measures voter deviations from party-specific mean
voters over radical right and major parties (European Social Survey, 2006).
10 JAN ROVNY
Confirming hypothesis 2, Figure 1 compares the salience that radical right
parties place on economic and non-economic issues with major right and major
left parties. Major parties devote about 30% of their manifestos to economic as
well as to non-economic issues. They tend to slightly overemphasize economic
issues, which is logical given the central role the economy plays in mainstream
political discourse and public policy. Radical right parties, on the contrary,
overemphasize non-economic issues by devoting over 40% of their manifestos to
them on average. Economic issues are instead neglected, with only some 22% of
manifesto space. The most striking is the relative difference: radical right parties
devote almost twice as much of their manifestos to non-economic, rather than
economic, issues.
A similar picture emerges when considering the long-term trend of economic
and non-economic issue salience of these three party types (Figure 2). Both major
left and major right parties balance their attention between economic and non-
economic issues over the post-war period. Radical right parties, on the other
hand, place more or less constant emphasis on economic issues, while devoting
increasingly more of their manifestos to non-economic issues over time.
Economic position blurring
Radical right parties project themselves as parties contesting predominantly non-
economic issues. For strategic reasons, they muddy their economic outlooks and
shy away from discussing economic policies explicitly and at length, which allows
them to attract a broader coalition of voters. This economic position blurring is
not only picked up by voters, who tend to evaluate the radical right on the basis of
their non-economic issue preferences, but also by party experts.
Figure 1 Issue salience by party type. Comparative manifesto data. Average salience by
party type for years 2000 and up.
Where do radical right parties stand? 11
This section tests hypotheses 3a, 3b, and 3c. It first considers the assessment of
radical right placements across multiple data sets. Second, it predicts the standard
deviations of voter and expert party placements by party types, showing the
particularity of the radical right. Finally, it addresses the fluctuations of radical
right party placements over time.
Figures 3 and 4 present ordinal expert placement of political parties and ordinal
positioning of mean radical right voters on the economic and non-economic dimen-
sions.
9
Each row corresponds to a different source of information on party placement
within a given party system. Parties are arranged horizontally from left to right on the
economic dimension and from social liberalism to authoritarianism on the non-
economic dimension. They are lined up with major left and major right parties (lightly
shaded) within each party system, while radical right parties are emphasized in bold.
The data show that radical right economic placement seems rather erratic.
While some sources suggest that a radical right party stands on the extreme
economic right, others place it to the left of the major left party in the given system
Figure 2 Issue salience in the post-war period. Comparative manifesto data.
9
Expert judgments and voter preferences are coded on different scales. When experts place political
parties and voters outline their positioning on political issues, there is no certainty that they conceive of
political space in comparable ways. It is thus impossible to say that distance on the voters’ scale is the
same as the equivalent distance on the scale used by the party experts. As a result, it is erroneous to report
the placement on a continuous scale. I opt instead to report the placement as ordinal level data, which
compares voter positioning to other voters and expert placement relative to other expert placements.
12 JAN ROVNY
AUSTRIA Econ Left Econ
Right
FPO BZO
Voters WVS 1999
Voters ESS 2006
Experts CHES 1999
Experts CHES 2006
KPO SPO Grune FPO OVP LIF 0.67 .
KPO SPO Grune LIF FPO BZO OVP 0.71 0.86
Grune SPO OVP FPO LIF 0.80 .
Grune SPO FPO BZO OVP LIF 0.50 0.67
0.13 0.13
BELGIUM
Flanders
Econ Left Econ Right VB
Voters WVS 1999
Voters ESS 2006
Experts CHES 1999
Experts CHES 2006
SP Agalev ID CVP VB VLD 0.83
Agalev/Groen SP.A VB CD&V N-VA VLD 0.50
Agalev SP VU-ID21 CVP VLD VB 1.00
Agalev/Groen SPA CD&V NVA VB VLD 0.83
0.21
DENMARK Econ
Left
Econ
Right
FP DF
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters ESS 2006
Voters
ISSP 2006
Experts CHES 1999
Experts CHES 2006
EL SF SD FP KRF CD RV KP V DF 0.40 1.00
EL SF FP SD RV KRF DF CD V KF 0.30 0.70
EL SF SD RV DF KRF New AllianceNew Alliance V KP . 0.56
EL SF SD CD RV KRF DF KF V FP 1.00 0.70
EL SF SD DF V KF RV 0.57
0.38 0.18
FRANCE Econ
Left
Econ
Right
FN MPF
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters ESS 2006
Voters
ISSP 2006
Experts CHES 1999
Experts CHES 2006
PCF VERTS FN PS UDF RPR DL 0.43 .
PCF PS VERTS MPF UDF FN UMP 0.86 0.57
PCF PS VERTS UDF RPR FN 1.00 .
PCF PS VERTS UDF RPR RPF DL FN 1.00 .
PCF PS VERTS UDF FN UMP MPF 0.71 1.00
0.24 0.30
GERMANY Econ Left Econ
Right
REP NPD
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters ESS 2006
Voters
ISSP 2006
Experts CHES 1999
Experts CHES 2006
PDS REP SPD CDU-CSU Grunen FDP 0.33
PDS REP NPD-DVU SPD Grunen CDU-CSU FDP 0.29 0.43
PDS SPD Grunen CDU-CSU NPD REP FDP 0.86 0.71
PDS Grunen SPD CDU-CSU DVU REP FDP 0.86 0.71
PDS SPD Grunen CDU-CSU FDP . .
0.32 0.16
ITALY Econ
Left
Econ
Right
LN AN
Voters WVS 1999
Experts CHES 1999
Experts CHES 2006
RC PDS CDU PSDI PPI FdV CCD LN AN FI 0.80 0.90
RC PDS FdV PPI PSDI AN CDU CCD FI LN 0.60 1.00
RC DS FdV SDI DL IdV UDC AN FI LN 1.00 0.80
0.20 0.10
NETHERLANDS Econ
Left
Econ
Right
LPF PVV
Voters ISSP 2006
Experts CHES 2006
SP PvdA Groen CDA CU D66 VVD 0.22 0.78
SP Groen PvdA CU D66 CDA VVD PVV . 1.00
0.16
BELGIUM
Francophone
Econ Left Econ Right FN
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters ESS 2006
Experts
CHES 1999
Experts CHES 2006
FN ECOLO PS PSC PRL-FD 0.20
FN PS ECOLO MR 0.25
ECOLO PS PSC PRL-FD FN 1.00
PS ECOLO CDH MR .
0.45
FINLAND Econ
Left
Econ
Right
True Finns
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters ESS 2006
Voters
ISSP 2006
Experts CHES 1999
Experts CHES 2006
VAS SDP True
Finns
VIHR KD KESK RKP KOK 0.38
VAS KD SDP KESK VIHR RKP True Finns
KOK 0.88
VAS VIHR SDP RKP KD TrueFinnsKESK KOK 0.75
VAS SDP VIHR KESK True Finns
RKP KOK 0.71
VAS SDP VIHR True Finns
KD KESK RKP KOK 0.50
0.20
GREECE Econ Left Econ Right LAOS
CHES 2006 KKE DIKKI SYRIZA PASOK LAOS ND 0.83
Figure 3 Economic positioning of radical right parties. Extreme right parties are in bold.
Anchored by mainstream left- and right-wing parties. Please see Appendix for details
regarding the construction of dimensions.
Where do radical right parties stand? 13
(Figure 3). This contrasts sharply with radical right positioning on the non-economic
dimension of competition, where a vast majority of sources agree, and place the
radical right on the authoritarian fringe (Figure 4).
The right-hand column of Figures 3 and 4 provides summary measures of
radical right ordinal placement, while taking the number of parties in the party
AUSTRIA Lib Auth FPO BZO
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters
ESS 2006
Experts
CHES 1999
Experts
CHES 2006
KPO G LIF SPO FPO OVP 0.83 .
Grune SPO LIF OVP KPO BZO FPO 1.00 0.86
LF GA SPO OVP FPO 1.00
Grune LIF SPO OVP BZO FPO 1.00 0.83
0.08 0.02
DENMARK Lib Auth FP DF
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters
ESS 2006
Experts
CHES 1999
Experts
CHES 2006
EL RV SF KF SD CD V DF FP KRF 0.90 0.80
EL RV SF CD SD V KF Kristende
m
DF FP 1.00 0.90
EL SF RV SD KRF V KF CD FP DF 0.90 1.00
EL RV SF SD V KF DF . 1.00
0.06 0.10
FRANCE Lib Auth FN MPF
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters
ESS 2006
Experts
CHES 1999
Experts
CHES 2006
VERTS PCF PS DL UDF RPR FN 1.00 .
VERTS PS PCF UDF MPF UMP FN 1.00 0.71
VERTS PS UDF PCF DL RPR RPF FN 1.00 .
VERTS PS PCF UDF UMP MPF FN 1.00 0.86
0.00 0.10
GERMANY Lib Auth REP NPD-
DVU
WVS 1999
ESS 2006
CHES 1999
CHES 2006
Grunen PDS SPD FDP CDU-CSU REP 1.00 .
Grunen SPD Linke FDP CDU-CSU NPD/DVU REP 1.00 0.86
Grunen FDP PDS SPD CDU-CSU REP DVU 0.86 1.00
Grunen Linke FDP SPD CDU-CSU . .
0.08 0.10
ITALY Lib Auth LN AN
Voters WVS 1999
Experts
CHES 1999
Experts
CHES 2006
FdV RC PDS PSDI CDU AN FI LN PPI CCD 0.80 0.60
FdV PDS RC PSDI UD LN PPI FI CCD CDU AN 0.60 1.00
FdV RC SDI DS DL IdV FI UDC LN AN 0.90 1.00
0.15 0.23
NETHERLANDS Lib Auth PVV
Experts CHES 2006 GL D66 PvdA VVD SP PVV CDA CU 0.75
BELGIUM
Flanders
Lib Auth VB
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters
ESS 2006
Experts
CHES 1999
Experts
CHES 2006
Agalev SP ID VLD PSC VB CVP 0.86
Agalev/Gro N-VA VLD SP.A CD&V VB 1.00
Agalev VU-ID21 SP VLD CVP VB 1.00
Groen SPA VLD CD&V NVA VB 1.00
0.07
BELGIUM
Francophone
Lib Auth FN
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters
ESS 2006
Experts
CHES 1999
Experts
CHES 2006
ECOLO PS PRL-FD PSC FN 1.00
ECOLO CDH MR PS FN 1.00
ECOLO PS PRL-FD PSC FN 1.00
ECOLO PS MR CDH .
0.00
FINLAND Lib Auth True Finns
Voters
WVS 1999
Voters
ESS 2006
Experts
CHES 1999
Experts
CHES 2006
VIHR VAS RKP KOK SDP KESK KD True Finns 1.00
VIHR VAS RKP KOK SDP KD KESK True Finns 1.00
VIHR VAS SDP RKP/SFP KOK KESK True Finns 1.00
VIHR VAS RKP/SFP SDP KOK KESK True Finns KD 0.88
0.06
GREECE Lib Auth LAOS
Experts CHES 2006 SYRIZA PASOK KKE ND DIKKI LAOS 1.00
Figure 4 Non-economic positioning of radical right parties. Extreme right parties are in
bold. Anchored by mainstream left- and right-wing parties. Please see Appendix for details
regarding the construction of dimensions.
14 JAN ROVNY
system into account.
10
The standard deviation of these placements is reported at
the bottom of the column. The mean standard deviation – that is the average
discrepancy between the placement measures of each radical right party – is 0.226
on the economic dimension, while it is just 0.081 on the non-economic dimension.
This evidence, showing that radical right party placement on the non-economic
dimension is very consistent across data sources, but that their placement on
economic issues diverges extensively within each system, supports hypothesis 3a.
This finding underscores the limited utility of spatial conceptions when studying
radical right parties. Rather than holding positions on economic issues, radical
right parties try to avoid clear economic stances.
Consequently, it is important to address whether radical right placement varies
significantly more than that of other parties. Table 2 presents results of ordinary
least squares (OLS) regression analyses predicting voter and expert standard
deviations on party placement on the economic and non-economic dimensions.
11
The standard deviations are explained by party family: major right, major left,
radical right, and radical left.
12
In addition, the models control for general party
characteristics: distance from the center of the left–right dimension; government
participation; and vote share. Government participation is interacted with the
radical right dummy variable in order to assess hypothesis 5.
The results in Table 2 support hypothesis 3b suggesting that radical right parties
blur their economic positions. In the first three models concerning the economic
dimension, the coefficient on the radical right is positive and statistically sig-
nificant, meaning that voters and experts are significantly less certain (have higher
standard deviations) about radical right parties. Major parties do not have a
significant effect on voter and expert (un)certainty. Interestingly, both voters and
experts are more certain about the economic placement of radical left parties, as
the radical left has a negative effect on blurring (their standard deviations are
significantly smaller). On the non-economic dimension (models 4 and 5), party
families do not predict the certainty of voter or expert placement at all. This
suggests that there is no significant difference in the (un)certainty of voters and
experts about major and radical party placements on the non-economic dimen-
sion – they are comparably certain about the placement of all of these parties.
These results reject the speculation that voters and experts simply do not know
as much about the parties belonging to the radical right and left, which tend to be
smaller and stand on the political extremes. The results further reject the notion
that the dependent variable of expert and voter standard deviations thus merely
10
The summary measure takes the ordered position of an expert party placement or mean radical
right party voter on economic and non-economic issues, while adjusting for the number of parties in the
given system. For example, if the radical right is the fifth of seven parties ordered along the economic
left–right scale, it receives the score 5/750.714.
11
These are again party-level standard deviations, measuring either voter or expert deviations from
party-specific means, thus removing the differences in individual party placements.
12
See Table A3 in the Appendix for the list of parties in each party family.
Where do radical right parties stand? 15
taps the voters’/experts’ (lack of) knowledge, rather than party strategies. First,
the models control for vote share and distance from the center. Second, voters and
experts are more certain about radical left placement, while exhibiting significant
doubts about the radical right on the economic dimension. This discrepancy
Table 2. Predicting voter and expert placement std. dev.
Economic dimension
Non-economic
dimension
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
Voter placement
std. dev.
Voter
std. dev.
Expert
std. dev.
Voter
std. dev.
Expert
std. dev.
(EES) (ESS) (CHES) (ESS) (CHES)
Radical right 0.757*** 0.168*** 0.669*** 0.043 0.165
(0.196) (0.060) (0.185) (0.071) (0.292)
Major left 20.052 20.007 20.048 0.097 20.288
(0.204) (0.061) (0.193) (0.072) (0.305)
Major right 20.030 0.069 20.037 0.030 20.019
(0.200) (0.054) (0.176) (0.064) (0.277)
Radical left 20.414*** 20.110** 20.337** 0.048 0.129
(0.152) (0.050) (0.153) (0.059) (0.241)
Government participation
Radical right (partial slope) 20.012*** 0.002 0.003 0.001 20.004
(0.003) (0.002) (0.003) (0.002) (0.005)
Government participation
Non-radical right (partial
slope)
20.000 0.000 20.002* 20.000 0.002
(0.001) (0.000) (0.001) (0.000) (0.001)
Distance from center 0.105** 0.015 20.050 20.010 0.064
(0.050) (0.017) (0.051) (0.021) (0.080)
Percentage of votes 0.002 20.003 0.002 0.000 20.002
(0.007) (0.002) (0.006) (0.002) (0.009)
Constant 1.840*** 0.914*** 1.302*** 0.887*** 1.111***
(0.119) (0.044) (0.121) (0.052) (0.191)
N82 77 98 77 98
R
2
0.373 0.336 0.378 0.066 0.061
EES 5European Election Study; ESS 5European Social Survey; CHES 5Chapel Hill
Expert Survey.
Standard errors are given in parentheses, ***P,0.01, **P,0.05, *P,0.1.
OLS Regression. The dependent variables are party-level std. dev. – they measure either
voter or expert deviations from party-specific means. Voter placement of parties on the
general left-right scale measured in the EES (2004; model 1). Voter positions on economic
and non-economic dimensions measured in the ESS (2006; models 2 and 4). Expert
placement on economic left-right scale and social liberalism and authoritarianism
measured in the 2006 CHES (models 3 and 5). Partial slopes calculated using Stata’s
‘xi3’ command written by Michael Mitchell and Phil Ender.
16 JAN ROVNY
cannot be simply attributed to voter’s and expert’s lack of knowledge of smaller,
outlying parties. It is very likely that deliberate partisan strategizing – economic
blurring of the radical right – is the cause.
The interaction effect in the models of Table 2 provides a basis for evaluating
hypothesis 5, which expects radical right parties to decrease their economic
blurring when their party is in power. The partial slope associated with the effect of
government for radical right parties shows significant effect in the expected direction
only in model 1. This supports hypothesis 5 by showing that voters are significantly
more certain of radical right party placement on economic issues when these have
been in government. However, since the finding is not reproduced in other models,
the test of hypothesis 5 is inconclusive. A more refined time-series assessment of
radical right strategies when their party forms the government, which is beyond the
scope of this article, is likely to provide a clearer answer.
The final test of radical right economic blurring, evaluating hypothesis 3c,
assesses radical right party’s ideological stability on this dimension over time.
Given the hypothesized vagueness of radical right economic placements, we
should expect significantly greater positional shifts on the economic dimension
among radical right parties as compared to major parties. These shifts should not
be interpreted as true movements in the radical right’s positions, but rather as a
reflection of the uncertainty of their positions.
Table 3 summarizes the mean positional change of radical right and major
parties over three time periods, measured by the CHES – 1999, 2002, and 2006.
The table provides statistical tests of differences in average absolute position
change of individual parties over this time period. Supporting hypothesis 3c, it
shows that radical right parties appear to change their positions on economic
issues significantly more than major parties. On non-economic issues, radical right
parties are not significantly different from major parties.
Thus, the evidence so far suggests that radical right parties employ deliberate
dimensional strategies. They compete on non-economic issues, while blurring
Table 3. Party position change over time
Economic dimension Non-economic dimension
NMean position change NMean position change
Major right 24 0.568 24 0.604
Radical right 12 1.2 12 0.811
Means difference test T 52.750, P,0.015 T 50.935, P,0.362
Major left 22 0.516 22 0.514
Radical right 12 1.2 12 0.811
Mean difference test T 52.953, P,0.010 T 51.437, P,0.172
Mean of absolute change of party positions between 1999, 2002, and 2006. Means
difference tests assume unequal variances (Chapel Hill Expert Surveys).
Where do radical right parties stand? 17
their stances on economic issues. These parties emphasize non-economic issues
over economic ones in their manifestos. Both voters and experts are significantly
uncertain about radical right economic placement, although they are more certain
about the placements of other parties. Finally, radical right parties exhibit seeming
instability in their economic placements over time. All these suggest that radical
right parties purposefully obscure their economic placements. The next section
considers the electoral consequences of this strategy.
Why support the radical right?
Since radical right parties tend to mostly consider non-economic issues, voters
should support radical right parties when they agree with them on non-economic
issues, as per hypothesis 4. Economic issues should play a limited role in voters’
calculus over casting a vote for the radical right.
Figure 5 reports results of the Multinomial Logit model predicting vote choice
for radical right parties using the 2006 ESS. The model predicts party vote choice
by positioning on the economic and non-economic dimensions, while controlling
for voters’ gender, age, education, and income.
13
Although this analysis presents
combined data across party systems, looking at individual parties produces sub-
stantively comparable results. Substantively comparable results are also obtained
using other data sets.
14
The figure presents the predicted probabilities of voting
for radical right and major parties, given a voter’s positioning on the economic
and non-economic dimensions,
15
while other predictors are held at their mean.
The graphs support hypothesis 4 by showing that voters of radical right parties cast
their votes on the basis of non-economic issue considerations. Radical right parties
attract voters who stand at or near the authoritarian extreme of the non-economic
dimension. Conversely, voters do not tend to place similar emphasis on economic
concerns while voting for the radical right. Although statistically significant, posi-
tioning on the economic dimension does not substantively affect the probability of
voting for the radical right. The predicted probabilities stemming from the economic
dimension are very low, and the economic left–right curve is almost flat. In com-
parison, mainstream parties attract voters on both dimensions, while voters’ economic
preferences have a particularly strong impact on mainstream party vote.
13
The details of the model are presented in Table A1 in the Appendix. The core assumption of
Multinomial Logit – the independence of irrelevant alternatives (IIA) – holds when tested with the Small-
Hsiao test. In any case, the alternative model – Multinomial Probit – is considered problematic, although
not requiring the IIA assumption. It is computationally complex and with a larger number of choice
categories becomes intractable. Furthermore, recent methodological literature suggests that the estimates
of Multinomial Probit are almost always less accurate than those of Multinomial Logit (Kropko, 2008).
14
For details, please contact the author.
15
The economic axis is based on standardized scores of variable ‘gincdif’ in ESS, 2006, concerning
voter propensity to redistribute income, which is the only question tapping explicitly economic pre-
ferences. The non-economic axis is based on standardized factor scores derived from principal factor
analysis of the non-economic items of ESS, 2006, listed in Table A2 of the Appendix. Given the stan-
dardized scores, the axes run from roughly 22.5 to 12.5.
18 JAN ROVNY
The radical right’s strategies of deliberately understating economic issues and
blurring its stances on them shape its electoral fortunes. Since voters do not
support the radical right on the basis of economic preferences, radical right parties
are able to attract a broader electoral coalition, spanning from unemployed
industrial workers to some white collar workers and the self-employed. Multi-
dimensional party competition, with its strategies of issue emphasis and position
blurring, permits the amalgamation of voters united by some preferences, but
divided by others, with significant electoral consequences.
Conclusion
This article explores the puzzle of radical right party positioning. Using party
manifesto data, expert data on party placement, and data on voter preferences, it
argues that radical right parties contest the structure of political competition. Due
to their investment in various issues, they employ diverse strategies in different
dimensions. Consequently, radical right parties emphasize and take clear ideolo-
gical stances on the authoritarian fringe of the non-economic dimension, while
deliberately avoiding precise economic placement.
This article presents a dimensional approach to political competition, which
sees politics as competition over the issue composition of political space. Parties
Figure 5 Vote choice for different party types. Predicted probabilities for economic and non-
economic positions while other variables held at their means. Based on Multinomial Logit model
presented in Table A1 in the Appendix. European Social Survey (2006), estimated using Stata 11.1
‘prgen’ command.
Where do radical right parties stand? 19
compete for voters by seeking to shift the basis of political competition. To
sidestep major parties, non-entrenched parties like the radical right are inclined to
explore previously neglected issues, such as nationalism and anti-immigration – a
strategy facilitated by their hierarchical organizational structure.
This dimensional competition renders the partisan strategy of position blurring
viable. Although position blurring has been analyzed as costly in uni-dimensional
competition, it is a potentially rewarding strategy in multidimensional contests.
While competing on the non-economic dimension, radical right parties maintain a
consciously opaque profile on economic issues. Through this position blurring
they remove or misrepresent their spatial distance from voters, and attract a
broader coalition of economic interests.
Radical right parties benefit directly from their strategy of economic position blur-
ring. Voters respond to partisan signals and vote for radical right parties on the basis of
their non-economic issue interests, rather than economic preferences. This benefits the
radical right by securing electoral support from socially authoritarian voters, without
deterring voters on the basis of economic issue preferences. Blurring ideological
positions is thus a rational strategy on the part of the European radical right.
The dimensional approach to political competition presented in this article is
consistent with the spatial paradigm in that it considers party and voter placement in
n-dimensional space. It is, however, inconsistent with spatial theory, which sees party
competition as position taking, without considering the relative stakes that parties
may have in different issue dimensions. It is the argument of this article that these
stakes determine partisan strategic calculations, potentially leading them to avoid
taking positional stances. The academic debate over radical right placement on
economic issues should consequently consider the limits of spatial theory, and
acknowledge the possibility that parties may compete by deliberate position blurring.
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Gary Marks, Liesbet Hooghe, Herbert Kitschelt, George
Rabinowitz, John D. Stephens, James A. Stimson, Milada Anna Vachudova,
Georg Vanberg and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.
Special thanks for her comments, editing and support go to Allison E. Rovny. All
outstanding errors are mine.
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22 JAN ROVNY
Appendix
Table A1. Multinomial Logit model of vote choice
(1) (2)
Major right Radical right
Left-right position 1.660*** 1.482***
(0.079) (0.152)
Non-economic position 0.153** 0.852***
(0.060) (0.110)
Gender 0.030 20.343**
(0.091) (0.172)
Age 0.003 20.026***
(0.003) (0.005)
Education 0.087** 20.367***
(0.035) (0.079)
Income 0.074*** 0.088**
(0.025) (0.044)
Constant 20.964*** 20.223
(0.281) (0.519)
Pseudo R
2
0.250
Log-pseudo likelihood 23521.34
Baseline Major left
N5309
***P,0.01, **P,0.05, *P,0.1.
Robust s.e. is given in parentheses.
Results for Multinomial Logit model predicting vote choice for major right, major left and
radical right parties. Estimated using Stata 11.2. Small-Hsiao test supports presence of IIA
(independence of irrelevant alternatives; European Social Survey, 2006).
Table A2. Dimensional structure of data
Economic dimension Non-economic dimension
WVS
Private ownership of business should be
increased/decreased
Religious leaders should not influence vote
People/government should take more
responsibility
Employers should give priority to locals over
immigrants
Competition is good/harmful Strictness of immigration policy
State gives freedom to firms/state controls firms Justifiability of homosexuality
Justifiability of abortion
ISSP
Cuts in government’s spending
Finance projects to create new jobs
Less government regulation of business
Support industry to develop technologies
Where do radical right parties stand? 23
Table A2. (Continued)
Economic dimension Non-economic dimension
Support declining industries to protect jobs
Reduce working week to create jobs
Government should spend money on
environment
Government should spend money on health care
Government should spend money on education
Government should spend money on retirement
Government should spend money on
unemployment
Government’s responsibility to provide job for
everyone
Government’s responsibility to control prices
Government’s responsibility for health care
Government’s responsibility to provide standard
of living for old
Government’s responsibility to help industry grow
Government’s responsibility to provide living
standard for unemployed
Government’s responsibility to reduce income
differences
Government’s responsibility to provide financial
help for students
Government’s responsibility to provide decent
housing
Government’s responsibility to protect the
environment
European Social Survey
Government should reduce differences in Gays and lesbians free to live as they wish
income levels Ban political parties that wish to overthrow democracy
European unification should go further/gone too far
Allow many/few immigrants of same race as
majority
Allow many/few immigrants of different race as
majority
Allow many/few immigrants from poorer countries
Immigration bad or good for country’s economy
Country’s cultural life undermined/enriched by
immigrants
Immigrants make country worse/better place to live
How often do you attend religious services
Comparative Manifesto Project
Free enterprise (positive) Military (negative)
Incentives (positive) Freedom and human rights (positive)
Economic orthodoxy (positive) Democracy (positive)
Welfare state limitation (positive) Environmental protection (positive)
Education limitation (positive) Social justice and nondiscrimination (positive)
Labor groups (negative) National way of life (negative)
Market regulation (positive) Traditional morality (negative)
24 JAN ROVNY
Table A2. (Continued)
Economic planning (positive) Multiculturalism (positive)
Corporatism (positive) Underprivileged minority groups (positive)
Keynesian demand management (positive) Military (positive)
Controlled economy (positive) Political authority (positive)
Nationalization (positive) National way of life (positive)
Welfare state expansion (positive) Traditional morality (positive)
Education expansion (positive) Law and order (positive)
Labor groups (positive) Multiculturalism (negative)
WVS 5World Values Survey; ISSP 5International Social Survey Programme.
Table A3. List of party types
Major Right
Austria O
¨sterreichische Volkspartei O
¨VP
Belgium Christen-Democratisch and Vlaams CD&V
Belgium Centre Democrate Humaniste CDH
Belgium Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten VLD
Britain Conservative Party Cons
Denmark Venstre, Danmarks Liberale Parti V
Finland Suomen Keskusta KESK
Finland Kansallinen Kokoomus KOK
France Union pour un Mouvement Populaire UMP
Germany Christlich-Demokratische Union CDU
Greece Nea Dimokratia ND
Ireland Fianna Fail FF
Ireland Fine Gael FG
Italy Forza Italia FI
The Netherlands Christen-Democratisch Appel CDA
Portugal Partido Popular Democratico/Partido Social Democrata PPD/PSD
Spain Partido Popular PP
Sweden Moderaterna M
Major Left
Austria Sozialdemokratische Partei O
¨sterreichs SPO
¨
Belgium Parti Socialiste PS
Belgium Socialistische Partij Anders – Spirit SPA
Britain Labour Party Lab
Denmark Socialdemokraterne SD
Finland Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen SDP
France Parti Socialiste PS
Germany Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands SPD
Greece Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima PASOK
Ireland Labour Lab
Italy Democratici di Sinistra DS
The Netherlands Partij van de Arbeid PvdA
Portugal Partido Socialista PS
Spain Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol PSOE
Where do radical right parties stand? 25
Table A3. (Continued)
Sweden Arbetarpartiet – Socialdemokraterna SAP
Radical Right
Austria Bundnis Zukunft O
¨sterreich BZO
¨**
Austria Freiheitliche Partei O
¨sterreichs FPO
¨
Belgium Vlaams Blok/Belang VB
Belgium Front National FN***
Denmark Fremskridtspartiet FP*
Denmark Dansk Folkeparti DF
Finland Persussuomalaiset True Finns
France Front National FN
France Mouvement Pour la France MPF**
Germany Republikaner REP***
Germany Nazionaldemokratische Partei NPD***
Germany Deutsche Volksunion DVU***
Greece Laikos Orthodoxos Synagermos LAOS**
Italy Alleanza Nazionale AN
Italy Lega Nord LN
The Netherlands List Pim Fortuyn LPF*
The Netherlands Partij voor de Vrijheid PVV**
Radical Left
Denmark Enhedslisten EL**
Denmark Socialistisk Folkeparti SF
Finland Vasemmistoliito VAS
France Parti Communiste Franc¸ais PCF
Germany Die Linkspartei – Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus Linke/ PDS
Greece Dimokratiko Kinoniko Kinima DIKKI**
Greece Kommunistiko Komma Elladas KKE
Greece Synaspismos tis Rizospastikis Aristeras SYRIZA
Italy Partito dei Comunisti Italiani PdCI
Italy Rifondazione Comunista RC
The Netherlands Socialistische Partij SP
Portugal Bloco de Esquerda BE
Portugal Coligacao Democratica Unitaria CDU
Spain Izquierda Unida IU
Sweden Va
¨nsterpartiet V
*Missing in Chapel Hill Expert Surveys (CHES), **Missing in Comparative Manifesto
Project (CMP), ***Missing in CHES and CMP.
26 JAN ROVNY
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