Article
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

Right-wing populist and far right parties are on the rise across Europe. While established parties suffer dramatic electoral losses, right-wing parties are celebrating one electoral victory after another. To address their radical right challengers, many established parties have adopted a so-called “accommodative strategy” (Meguid 2005, 2008) by taking a more immigration-skeptical policy position. However, it is unclear whether such a strategy yields the expected benefits or whether such a position shift in turn hurts a party electorally. In this paper, we find that when parties “go tough on immigration” by using an accommodative strategy, it neither helps nor hurts the party in keeping its voters. We arrive at this conclusion through an analysis of 16,811 vote choices in 15 elections in six countries including Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom from 1998 until 2013. To test the robustness of our findings, we also examine how the “accommodation strategy” influences voters’ propensity to vote for the far right Alternative für Deutschland in 2013 and 2017. Our findings have important implications for understanding what explains the rise of far right parties and the changing nature of electoral competition across Europe.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Many explanations have been developed to understand this phenomenon, and some of them point to the fact that the parties of the radical right are fed by former voters of the center-left (Oesch and Rennwald 2018). Considering this fact, some authors argue that the centre-left strategies to combat the radical right should be aimed at winning back these voters, who hold positions close to the center-left on economic issues and to the radical right on issues such as immigration (Hjorth and Larsen 2022;Spoon and Klüver 2020). For years this has been the strategy adopted by many parties that have tightened their immigration policies, following what Meguid (2005) have come to call accommodative strategies. ...
... The supporters of this approach consider that according to issue ownership theories, radical right parties are issue owners of anti-immigration discourses. So, if mainstream parties adopt part of radical rights' immigration discourse, they will not take away their appeal, but rather the shift will be perceived as a victory for radical right parties (Spoon and Klüver 2020). Authors such as Green and Hobolt (2008) had already shown that accommodation strategies did not produce the expected effects, and others such as Arzheimer and Carter (2006) warned that accommodative strategies helped to legitimize radical rights' speech. ...
... But the debate does not end there, and other authors have suggested that there could be differences between the parties of the left and the mainstream right. In this regard, some authors have claimed that accommodative strategies are beneficial for centre-left but not for centre-right parties (Hjorth and Larsen 2022;Spoon and Klüver 2020). Although it may seem counter-intuitive, several arguments would explain this phenomenon. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The present paper analyzes the effect of accommodative strategies on the center-left vote under certain conditions. It proposes that the structure of political competition will be a determining factor in the success of accommodative strategies. It takes as a starting point that political space is two-dimensional and is composed of a left/right economic axis and another one in values GAL/TAN (Green, Alternative, Liberal/ Traditional, Authoritarian, Nationalist). The main hypothesis of the paper is that in countries where the two dimensions are overlapped, accommodative strategies won't be successful, while in parties where there is an orthogonal division of the political space, accommodative strategies will impact positively the center-left vote. To test this argument, I will run three time-series OLS models. I find support for the hypothesis, so the paper leaves open an interesting line for future research.
... More recent studies have found contrasting results regarding whether shifting strategies on immigration such as 'accommodation' pays-off electorally (see Meijers and Williams, 2019;Spoon and Klüver, 2020). Meijers and Williams (2019) find that shifting further right ideologically on the political spectrum (namely towards more 'Eurosceptic' 5 Radical right parties tend to adopt the most 'restrictive' positions on immigration (Lubbers et al., 2002;Meguid, 2005;Mudde, 2007Mudde, , 2014. ...
... positions) tends to weaken mainstream centre right parties electorally speaking, with the populist radical right benefiting more electorally. Furthermore, Spoon and Klüver (2020) highlight the complexity of party competition, particularly towards 'accommodative' positional shifts on the key issue of immigration for 'mainstream' parties. They find ambivalent effects for mainstream centre right parties, with 'accommodative' positional shifts neither helping nor hurting mainstream centre right parties electorally. ...
... Strategic positioning builds on recent research (see Meguid, 2005;Pardos-Prado, 2015;Abou-Chadi and Krause, 2018;Meijers and Williams, 2019;Spoon and Klüver, 2020) and results in two hypotheses. Simply, centre right parties' use of strategic positioning in the context of the Refugee Crisis is not only to improve their electoral fortunes but also to out-perform far right parties electorally. ...
Preprint
Abstract: Despite a rise in the number of competitive far right parties leading up to the European refugee crisis, some centre right parties achieved or maintained electoral success. We argue that some centre right parties recognise the electoral opportunity for radical right parties to exploit the refugee crisis for electoral gains and strategically adopt hard-line positions on immigration to maintain and even increase their electoral success. We test our theory of strategic positioning using data on party competition in national parliamentary elections across 28 EU member states at the start of the refugee crisis. Strategic positioning appears to be a particularly successful choice for centre right parties. The quantitative analysis is supported by case studies in Western Europe of Austria and The Netherlands. Whilst strategic positioning may produce short-term electoral success, it also mainstreams radical immigration positions in contemporary European politics, with negative implications for liberal democracy in Europe.
... This development has recently prompted a heated debate as to whether Social Democrats would now reap electoral gains if they offered more restrictive immigration. Spoon and Klüver (2020) offer compelling evidence in 15 elections for six Western countries from 1998-2013, that such an accommodation strategy does significantly benefit mainstream left parties. Denmark provides an instructive example. ...
... Consequently, as voters are unable to spot much differentiation in the mainstream parties economically, then political competition moves to socio-cultural issues, where parties on the right have an advantage (Tavits and Potter 2015). In line with the recent results of Spoon and Klüver (2020) and Hjorth and Larsen (2020), I find some evidence that an accommodation strategy on the socio-cultural dimension can work, but it is detrimental if combined with a rightward economic strategy. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent electoral results reveal a pronounced decline in the fortunes of Social Democratic parties. Much of the decline debate has revolved around their rightward policy shifts, which have turned Social Democrats away from their founding principle of equality in an age of increasing inequality. Thus, this article examines the interconnections of these major changes in the Western political economy. In doing so, it contributes to the identification of income inequality as a key mechanism moderating Social Democratic policy offerings and their support. It does so through aggregate-level election results and individual-level survey responses on a sample of 22 advanced democracies, over 336 elections, from 1965–2019. Results reveal that rightward economic movements of Social Democrats significantly reduce their vote share under higher levels of income inequality or when they are combined with rightward socio-cultural movements. The findings provide an important explanation for the pronounced electoral decline of Social Democratic parties.
... For example, scholars of representation might be interested whether certain groups communicate distinctively in parliament (Pitkin 1967) or whether legislation is similar to demands voiced by interest groups (Klüver and Pickup 2019). Students of government formation and termination want to know which parties communicate most similar and are hence most likely to govern with each other and how stable these coalitions might be (Gamson 1961;Grofman and Van Roozendaal 1994), or whether coalitions increase the similarity of parties over time (Spoon and Klüver 2019). Public opinion scholars evaluate which political groups left their mark on the current public discourse (Wagner and Meyer 2017;Slothuus 2010). ...
... rhetorical similarities of parties and speakers with the radical-right. The accommodation of radical-right parties by mainstream parties has inspired a vast literature and constitutes a major area of research on party competition (see e.g.Arzheimer 2009;Bale et al. 2010;Dahlström and Sundell 2012;Harmel and Svåsand 1997;Krause, Cohen, and Abou-Chadi 2019;Meguid 2005;Schumacher and Kersbergen 2014;Spoon and Klüver 2020;Van der Brug, Fennema, and Tillie 2005;Van Spanje 2010;Wagner and Meyer 2017) ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent advances in the application of supervised learning have shown how the method can be employed to measure polarization by assessing classifiers' accuracy. Building on these contributions, I propose a reconceptualisation to enable extended utilization of this approach. Focusing on predicted probabilites as a measure of rhetorical similarity, I validate supervised learning for the measurement of accommodation to radical right parties through established parties and politicians in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. Results indicate that the method produces valid estimates of parties' and speakers' rhetorical similarities to respective radical-right parties and outperforms existing similarity measures and scaling methods. I discuss possible further applications and limitations.
... On the other hand, some Social Democratic parties are also willing to move toward the position of PRRPs (Bale, Green-Pedersen, Krouwel, Luther, & Sitter, 2010), yet whether this pays off is still contested in empirical research. While Spoon and Klüver (2020) demonstrate that a more restrictive stance on immigration might benefit mainstream left parties whereas there is no distinct positive or negative effect for Conservatives, other scholars are skeptical with regard to the consequences of adjusting to the PRRPs' position. For instance, Abou-Chadi and Wagner (2019) do not find evidence for this strategy to be successful, and Chou, Dancygier, Egami, and Jamal (2021) point out the high risk of alienating own voters by doing so. ...
Article
This study examines the availability of populist radical right voters for mainstream parties. Are there segments within the electorate of PRRPs that can be regained by (specific) established non-populist parties? Focusing on the German context, the paper analyzes the availability of AfD voters on the electoral market. We demonstrate that relatively low availability can be traced back to the voters' distance in issue positions, the strength of populist attitudes and the interplay of distance and populist attitudes. Strong populist attitudes decrease the role of issue proximity for the likelihood of winning (back) AfD voters. Accordingly, simple repositioning towards stricter immigration laws is not a substantively profitable strategy. Our results indicate that an AfD voter's willingness to vote for an established party varies across parties. Generally, the German populist radical right voter's availability for the mainstream parties are rather low, and we shall thus discuss the strategic implication of our findings.
... Others have instead focused on how RWPPs have varying willingness and ability to capitalise on the grievances of certain parts of their electorate (Koopmans and Statham 1999;Mudde 2010;Halikiopoulou et al. 2013;Vasilopoulou et al. 2014). There has also been recent debate about whether RWPPs are more or less successful when their political competitors accommodate and/or internalise some of their positions (Spoon and Kluver 2020;Pytlas 2021). RWPP success in turn can affect the policy or rhetorical positions of other more established political parties (Abou-Chadi and Krause 2020; Bergmann et al. 2021;Puleo 2021;Valentim and Widmann 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
This report examines the electoral success of right-wing populist parties (RWPPs) in 17 European countries and makes recommendations for how progressives should respond. Specifically, we study the three Ps: People: Why do individual people vote for RWPPs? Policy: What is the role of policy? Parties: What makes certain RWPPs more successful than others? The structure of the Three Ps provides a framework to address crucial questions many progressive decision-makers, strategists and citizens have: Is it cultural or economic concerns that drive support for RWPPs? Can economic & social policies prevent the success of RWPPs? Can populism alone explain the success of RWPPs? What should progressives do to address voters of RWPPs?
... The exact requirements for parliamentary initiatives are different in every country. However, numerous studies show that mainstream parties do not necessarily win back voters when adopting PRRP positions (Van Spanje and De Graaf, 2018; Spoon and Klüver, 2020). Instead, this approach may contribute to legitimizing PRRP demands (Eatwell, 2000;Meguid, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, populist radical right parties (PRRPs) have continued to establish themselves in parliaments across Europe. However, there is little research on party responses in parliaments. This article explores how mainstream parties have dealt with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in state parliaments. Its contribution is twofold: theoretically, it links the existing literature on party responses to the parliamentary arena and proposes a comprehensive framework for analyzing party responses in parliament, distinguishing between the formal and the policy level. Moreover, it tries to understand the variation of responses by emphasizing three important factors: party ideology, the government-opposition divide, and the federal structure of parties. Empirically, the article explores the crucial variation of response patterns toward the AfD at the subnational level, which is often neglected in the study of PRRPs. The results show that party responses reflect an ongoing learning process with no 'magic formula' in sight. Overall, the article underlines the importance of party responses in the initial phase for the PRRPs' impact and offers substantial theoretical and empirical impetus for future research.
... Others have instead focused on how RWPPs have varying willingness and ability to capitalise on the grievances of certain parts of their electorate (Koopmans and Statham 1999;Mudde 2010;Halikiopoulou et al. 2013;Vasilopoulou et al. 2014). There has also been recent debate about whether RWPPs are more or less successful when their political competitors accommodate and/or internalise some of their positions (Spoon and Kluver 2020;Pytlas 2021). RWPP success in turn can affect the policy or rhetorical positions of other more established political parties (Abou-Chadi and Krause 2020; Bergmann et al. 2021;Puleo 2021;Valentim and Widmann 2021). ...
Research
Full-text available
This report examines the electoral success of right-wing populist parties (RWPPs) in 17 European countries and makes recommendations for how progressives should respond. Specifically, we study the three Ps: People: Why do individual people vote for RWPPs? Policy: What is the role of policy? Parties: What makes certain RWPPs more successful than others? The structure of the Three Ps provides a framework to address crucial questions many progressive decision-makers, strategists and citizens have: Is it cultural or economic concerns that drive support for RWPPs? Can economic & social policies prevent the success of RWPPs? Can populism alone explain the success of RWPPs? What should progressives do to address voters of RWPPs?
... Some of them try to accommodate the respective culturally conservative policy issues into their own profile, while others deliberately reject any potential cooperation with radical right parties and try to distance themselves from their programmatic positions. Yet, there is little consensus in the literature as to whether any of those strategies have an effect on the electoral success of the populist right, and if so, of which nature such an effect may be (Heerden and Brug, 2017;Meijers and Williams, 2020;Spoon and Klüver, 2020). There is, instead, greater agreement among scholars that the historical legacy of a country and a related stigmatization of a vote for the populist radical right can present a powerful barrier against radical right parties establishing themselves, acting as a 'hostile political opportunity structure' (Mudde, 2007, p. 245;Ivarsflaten et al., 2010;Blinder et al., 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
The German populist radical right party “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) was founded amid various economic and political crises. This article argues that the electoral success of this political challenger, however, is rooted in more than the upsurge of populist resentments born out of these crises. Integrating theories about the activation of attitudes with arguments about the effects of exposure to local political contexts, I contend that the electoral success of the AfD reflects the mobilization of deep-seated nativist sentiments. To test these propositions, I draw on a large panel dataset of the AfD’s electoral returns at the municipal level ( N = 10,694) which I link to pre-crises data on the marginal success of extreme-right parties. Exploiting variation between municipalities located within the same county ( N = 294), I estimate a series of spatial simultaneous autoregressive error models by maximum likelihood estimation. The results show that the success of the AfD is rooted in the local prevalence of nativist sentiments that date prior to the crises that fomented the formation of the challenger party–an effect that becomes stronger in the course of the radicalization of the AfD. I further demonstrate that the populist right AfD is best able to broaden its electoral appeal among local communities with an extreme-right sub-culture, particularly in Eastern Germany. This suggests that even small extreme-right networks can act as a breeding ground for the populist right and help spread xenophobic and nativist sentiments among citizens.
... Second, the rise of populist parties may affect policy even if these parties do not enter the government. This view is supported by a related literature in political science examining how successes of far-right parties exert electoral pressures on mainstream parties, and are thereby able to shift government parties' policy positions closer to their ideal point (see, e.g., Abou-Chadi and Krause (2020), Spoon and Klüver (2020), as well as the review article by Golder (2016) and the references therein). ...
... Scholars are divided over how effective these strategies are for parties that do not identify as far-right. Some provide evidence that left-wing parties make electoral gains with anti-immigration appeals (Spoon and Klüver 2020). Others note no effect or even some backlash (Meijers and Williams 2019; Abou-Chadi and Wagner 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent elections have highlighted how electoral cycles are often accompanied by increases in negative rhetoric surrounding immigration. Exploiting as-if random assignment in individual interview dates for the European Social Survey, this paper examines how proximity to elections affects individual preferences on immigration. We find that closer to elections, attitudes toward immigration become more negative. This effect is primarily driven by country-elections where party platforms are more likely to include anti-immigrant rhetoric. When elections are more distant, these effects largely disappear, highlighting the possibility that anti-immigration electoral mandates are based on artificially inflated concerns of the electorate about immigration. Overall, these results provide important insights into how elections influence issue stances and social cohesion in Europe.
Article
The article reviews Cas Mudde's 'The Far Right Today' (2019). It is published in the March 2020 issue of e-Extreme, the Newsletter of the ECPR Standing Group on Extremism and Democracy, volume 21, issue 1. The issue can be found/downloaded from here: https://standinggroups.ecpr.eu/extremismanddemocracy/newsletter/
Chapter
Analytically, the present work relies on two foundations, Anthony Downs’ (1957) Proximity model of electoral competition which states that political parties or candidates will seek to position themselves as close as possible to the (preferred) policy positions of voters and Ian Budge’s past election model (1994), according to which parties and candidates use the results of past elections in order to gain information about the electorate landscape. Both models rely on a ‘marketplace’ analogy with demand and supply. Candidates, parties, and politicians supply policies (advertised as policy positions), while the electorate, voters, and constituencies demand policies. Just like in a marketplace, the model assumes that supply and demand interact with each other. Consumers (the voters) react to what is available, and suppliers seek to respond to demand by adjusting their supply (policy positions) to better match those sought by the electorate. Voters prefer to cast their vote for parties or politicians who share the same positions on policy as them, all else being equal (this is qualified in some contexts, e.g., by the incidence of majoritarian electoral rules and ‘strategic’ voting). Political parties seek to reach out and gain the favour of as many voters as possible and will adjust their policy positions to match those of voters to the extent that that does not contradict the basic premises of their ideological foundations.
Article
Despite a rise in the number of competitive far right parties leading up to the European refugee crisis, some centre right parties achieved or maintained electoral success. We argue that some centre right parties recognise the electoral opportunity for radical right parties to exploit the refugee crisis for electoral gains and strategically adopt hard-line positions on immigration to maintain and even increase their electoral success. We test our theory of strategic positioning using data on party competition in national parliamentary elections across 28 EU member states at the start of the refugee crisis. Strategic positioning appears to be a particularly successful choice for centre right parties. The quantitative analysis is supported by case studies in Western Europe of Austria and The Netherlands. Whilst strategic positioning may produce short-term electoral success, it also mainstreams radical immigration positions in contemporary European politics, with negative implications for liberal democracy in Europe.
Article
In many countries, right-wing populist parties have gained electoral support by attracting voters from mainstream left parties. This has prompted public and scholarly debate about whether mainstream left parties can regain political power by taking a more restrictive position on immigration, a so-called accommodation strategy. However, selection bias confounds observational estimates of the effectiveness of this strategy. This letter reports the results of a survey experiment conducted among Danish voters during a unique political situation in which the mainstream left party's position on immigration is ambiguous, enabling experimental manipulation of voters' perceptions of the party's position. The authors show that, consistent with spatial models of politics, accommodation attracts anti-immigration voters and repels pro-immigration voters. Because repelled voters defect to other left parties, while attracted voters come from right parties, accommodation increases overall support for parties that support a mainstream left government. The results demonstrate that in some contexts, accommodation can improve the political prospects of the mainstream left.
Article
Full-text available
Extant research has focused on the consequences of positional issue shifts that parties associate with their campaigns. Less attention has been paid to the consequences of the breadth of these issue agendas, which we demonstrate is a fruitful avenue for future research. Our analysis compares the effects of “appealing broadly” when employed by mainstream-left and mainstream-right parties and argues that centre-right parties can gain votes by employing this strategy. In contrast, we show that this “broad appeal” strategy is not successful for the mainstream-left in advanced parliamentary democracies. Additional analysis suggests that when controlling for issue diversity, position or salience shifts are not significant predictors of electoral support for centre-right parties. These findings contribute to the literature on party competition, issue competition and ownership, and the advantaged position of contemporary centre-right parties.
Article
As populist radical right parties muster increasing support in many democracies, an important question is how mainstream parties can recapture their voters. Focusing on Germany, we present original panel evidence that voters supporting the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)—the country’s largest populist radical right party—resemble partisan loyalists with entrenched anti-establishment views, seemingly beyond recapture by mainstream parties. Yet this loyalty does not only reflect anti-establishment voting, but also gridlocked party-issue positioning. Despite descriptive evidence of strong party loyalty, experimental evidence reveals that many AfD voters change allegiances when mainstream parties accommodate their preferences. However, for most parties this repositioning is extremely costly. While mainstream parties can attract populist radical right voters via restrictive immigration policies, they alienate their own voters in doing so. Examining position shifts across issue dimensions, parties, and voter groups, our research demonstrates that, absent significant changes in issue preferences or salience, the status quo is an equilibrium.
Chapter
The chapter explains how the centrist Christian democratic Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has responded to the challenges of the Silent revolution and counter revolution by demonstrating a selective willingness to cooperate with the populist radical right Freedom Party (FPÖ). Polling and manifesto data show how the ÖVP has shifted from dismissive to accommodative approaches when it was polling behind the FPÖ. Sufficient electoral distress led to the installation of new leaders who were able to change the strategic status quo. In the first instance in 1995 Wolfgang Schüssel emphasized policy-seeking and in the second case Sebastian Kurz pursed vote-seeking. Both strategies resulted in a positional alignment and eventually a coalition with the FPÖ, which at the time was pursuing office. Changes in the ÖVP depended on shifts in the balance of power among important intra-party groups, specifically, hardline conservatives and market liberals viewing cooperation with the FPÖ as advantageous for their respective interests. Analysis of the supply side reveals the close programmatic alignment of ÖVP with FPÖ positions since 2002. Demand side analysis suggests that the programmatic shifts by the ÖVP coincide with changes in the profile of its electorate toward a composition more typical of a far right party. Overall, the chapter concludes that while the ÖVP has been affected by massive voter dealignment since the 1980s, it responded to the counter revolution and the resulting surge of nativist populism mainly by means of emulation and cooperation.
Article
When mainstream parties accommodate radical-right parties, do citizens grow more concerned about immigration? Based on a rich literature, we argue that challenger parties’ ability to affect mainstream party positions, particularly on immigration, is associated with greater public salience of immigration and voter positivity towards challengers exists. We use Comparative Manifesto Project and Comparative Study of Electoral Systems data in order to show that challenger issue entrepreneurship, and mainstream accommodation are associated with greater public concern for challenger issues. These factors do not result in greater public positivity towards challengers. Our findings thus support the argument that a mainstream party accommodative strategy might not be as beneficial for them as often expected by pundit and political scientists alike. This has implications for understanding the effect of indirect party strategies on public attitudes, since mainstream accommodation changes public concern regarding issues, which may bolster challengers’ positions, including radical-right parties.
Article
The collapse of the Danish People's Party (DPP) was pivotal for the Danish 2019 election since a substantial bloc of their previous voters moved to the Social Democratic Party (SDP). This provides an interesting countermovement to the trend of mainstream left parties losing voters to populist or radical right‐wing parties across European countries. This paper seeks to explain the driving issues in this voter movement, thereby shedding light on how mainstream left parties can turn the tables vis‐à‐vis their new right‐wing challengers. Specifically, we focus on the traditional or first‐dimension issues of welfare and redistribution versus the second‐dimension issue of immigration. The simultaneous left‐wing turn on welfare and redistribution and right‐wing turn on immigration of the Danish SDP has provided room for varying interpretations of the election result. This paper utilizes new survey data to analyze the voter movements from and to the SDP with a special focus on defectors from the DPP. We find that attitudes toward welfare and redistribution were pivotal in moving voters from the DPP to the SDP. Meanwhile, the SDP has not completely “neutralized” the issue of immigration, which still tends to induce these voters to remain loyal to the DPP. We do not find support for the claim that immigration attitudes condition the extent to which redistributive preferences increase the likelihood of switching to the SDP. The SDP's right turn on immigration, moreover, seems to push voters to the immigration‐friendly (center‐left wing) support parties.
Thesis
This thesis examines and exposes how the heightened socio-cultural salience of immigration in contemporary Sweden affects the traditional party of power, the Social Democrats (SAP), and its understanding and response to the nationalist ‘populist’ party the Sweden Democrats (SD). Through extended ethnographic, survey and archival research in the year leading up to the September 2018 general election, I dissect how these dynamics manifested in Norrköping, a traditional SAP stronghold with a long history of immigration where support for SD has grown considerably. Based on my findings, I argue that the untranslatable Swedish concept of ‘trygghet’ functions as a powerful heuristic device for understanding the 2018 election campaign. Denoting an enveloping sense of safety and comfort, trygghet, and its antipode otrygghet, were increasingly mobilised by both the SAP and SD in the wake of the 2015 European refugee crisis. Among SD supporters and party members I illustrate the resentful power of a mythological nostalgia for a trygghet that is intimately tied to an imagined social democratic Sweden of yesteryear. Within the SAP, however, the aggravated socio-cultural politics of immigration exposed a different register of evocative nostalgias for what the fundamental precepts of social democracy are. Due to the heightened salience of immigration, these competing visions of trygghet came to a forceful head during the election campaign and ultimately proved contentious for the SAP. This thesis contributes original findings to the burgeoning literature on how immigration is reshaping traditional socio-political conflict dimensions. Adopting both ethnographic and geographic sensitivities, it adds to the growing scholarship which takes seriously the everyday contexts in which people make sense and meaning out of socio-politics. By doing so, it exposes the glaringly normative limitations common to both dominant academic and social democratic explanations for the rise of nationalist ‘populism’.
Article
While there are some signs of revitalization, social democracy has witnessed a deep electoral crisis over the last decades. The causes for the decline of social democratic parties are highly contested among researchers. This article provides a systematic review of the literature which spans several fields such as party politics, political sociology and political economy. Four kinds of explanations (sociological, materialist, ideational and institutional) are distinguished and scrutinized on the basis of empirical studies published since 2010. The findings indicate that there is not one explanation that stands out but that the electoral crisis of social democracy is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes, such as socio-structural changes, fiscal austerity and neoliberal depolarization. In addition, the findings suggest that a liberal turn on sociocultural issues does not necessarily lead to vote losses. Further research should explore more deeply how short-term and long-term factors have worked together in the process of social democratic decline.
Article
Radical right parties and their nativist ideas have gained considerable momentum, compelling non-radical parties to “engage” with this demand and with the nativist “Zeitgeist.” Yet, aside from general trends such as tougher stances on migration, we know little about the strategic choices of parties when balancing their commitment to core policy goals and the need to be “timely,” that is, to respond changing environments. Theoretically, parties may either adapt their ideological “core” to signal commitment or merely attribute nativist ideas to secondary issue areas to signal general responsiveness. Drawing on Austrian, German, and Swiss manifestos for over two decades and establishing a novel dictionary to assess parties’ use of nativism, we find that while previous studies showing right-wing parties to compete with RRs using nativism in the same domains are correct, the strategic choices around this competition are more complex. How much commitment to nativist ideas parties show depends on whether RR parties use the same domains to construct their nativist claims. For research on party competition, this means that more attention should be paid to how rather than if parties “engage” with their rivals.
Article
The dramatic decline in vote shares on the mainstream left in many recent elections has led to a renewed discussion about a crisis of Social Democracy. One popular argument is that Social Democratic decline is the result of these parties' liberal cultural positions and pro-EU stance, with both topics increasingly salient for their traditional voters, particularly among the working class. However, we lack comparative evidence testing this argument. In this paper, we combine CHES data on party positions with ESS survey data to analyze the electoral effects of Social Democratic parties' second dimension and EU positions. In addition, we focus on whether support from different socio-economic groups is sensitive to these positions. In contrast to much public debate, we find that more authoritarian/nationalist and more anti-EU positions are if anything associated with lower rather than greater electoral support for social democratic parties.
Article
Full-text available
How do the range of issues voters care about and party system polarization impact democratic outcomes? Recent debates have focused on the negative effect of polarized systems on democratic quality. However, the extent to which this polarization is channeled or diffused over a wide range of issues on the public agenda has not been analyzed systematically. Using data from 31 European countries from 2003 to 2018, we show that party polarization indeed has a negative effect on people's satisfaction with democracy. Importantly, however, we demonstrate that at high levels of issue diversity, the negative effect of polarization is minimized. Drawing on the deliberative democracy literature, we argue that at low levels of issue diversity, polarization makes compromise in society less likely and the political discourse more antagonistic. However, at higher levels of issue diversity, contestation and conflict can be diffused over a large range of issues, providing more favorable conditions for collective will formation and, ultimately, higher levels of satisfaction with democracy.
Article
Full-text available
In every democracy, established political parties are challenged by other parties. Established parties react in various ways to other parties’ presence. A key hypothesis in the relevant literature is that established parties can decrease another party’s electoral support by parroting it, i.e. adopting its core policy issue position. This article argues, and demonstrates empirically, that this hypothesised effect mainly occurs in the event that a critical prerequisite is in place. Parroting a party decreases its support only if that party is ostracised at the same time. The article classifies a party as ostracised if its largest established competitor systematically rules out all political cooperation with it. Analysing 296 election results of 28 West European parties (1944–2011), evidence is found for a parrot effect – however, concerning ostracised parties only. On several occasions established parties have substantially decreased another party’s support by simultaneously parroting that party and ostracising it.
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the extent to which opposition parties engage in wedge-issue competition. The literature on wedge-issue competition has exclusively focused on the two-party system in the United States, arguing that wedge issues are the domain of opposition parties. This study argues that within multiparty systems opposition status is a necessary but not sufficient condition for wedge-issue competition. Since parties within multiparty systems compete in the wake of past and dawn of future coalition negotiations, parties that are regularly part of a coalition are not likely to exploit wedge issues as it could potentially jeopardize relationships with future coalition partners. Conversely, it is less risky for parties that have never been part of a government coalition to mobilize wedge issues. These theoretical propositions are empirically substantiated by examining the attention given to the European integration issue between 1984 and 2010 within 14 Western European countries, utilizing pooled time-series regressions
Article
Full-text available
This article investigates the impact of niche party success on the policy agendas of mainstream parties. Following from the expected electoral effects of issue politicization, the success of radical right and green parties will cause different reactions from mainstream parties. While mainstream parties emphasize anti-immigrant positions in response to radical right success, green party success will have the opposite effect for environmental issues. Since green parties constitute issue owners, their success will make established parties de-emphasize the environment. Analyzing time-series cross-section data for sixteen Western European countries from 1980 to 2011, this article empirically establishes that green and radical right parties differ in their effect on mainstream party behavior and that their impact depends on the ideological position and past electoral performance of the mainstream parties.
Article
Full-text available
Issue ownership is commonly conceptualized as multidimensional, consisting of a “competence” dimension and an “associative” dimension. Because existing operationalizations of issue ownership tap only the former dimension, we focus on associative issue ownership: the spontaneous identification between specific issues and specific parties in the minds of voters. Survey evidence from Belgium shows that the associative dimension of issue ownership can be measured, that it differs from competence issue ownership, and that it is an independent determinant of voting behavior.
Article
Full-text available
This study addresses the dynamics of the issue space in multiparty systems by examining to what extent, and under what conditions, parties respond to the issue ownership of other parties on the green issue. To understand why some issues become part and parcel of the political agenda in multiparty systems, it is crucial not only to examine the strategies of issue entrepreneurs, but also the responses of other parties. It is argued that the extent to which other parties respond to, rather than ignore, the issue mobilisation of green parties depends on two factors: how much of an electoral threat the green party poses to a specific party; and the extent to which the political and economic context makes the green issue a potential vote winner. To analyse the evolution of the green issue, a time-series cross-section analysis is conducted using data from the Comparative Manifestos Project for 19 West European countries from 1980–2010. The findings have important implications for understanding issue evolution in multiparty systems and how and why the dynamics of party competition on the green issue vary across time and space.
Article
Full-text available
Anti-immigration parties have experienced electoral lift-off in most Western democracies, although the consequences of their victories for real-life policy outcomes have remained largely unexplored. A key question is: do electoral pressures from anti-immigration parties have a ‘contagion’ impact on other parties’ immigration policy positions? In this article, I argue and empirically demonstrate that this is the case. On the basis of a comparative-empirical study of 75 parties in 11 Western European countries, I conclude that this contagion effect involves entire party systems rather than the mainstream right only. In addition, I find that opposition parties are more vulnerable to this contagion effect than parties in government. The findings of this article imply that anti-immigration parties are able to influence policy output in their political systems without entering government.
Article
Full-text available
This study examined how using Likert-type scales with either 5-point, 7-point or 10-point format affects the resultant data in terms of mean scores, and measures of dispersion and shape. Three groups of respondents were administered a series of eight questions (group n's = 300, 250, 185). Respondents were randomly selected members of the general public. A different scale format was administered to each group. The 5-and 7-point scales were rescaled to a comparable mean score out of ten. The study found that the 5-and 7-point scales produced the same mean score as each other, once they were rescaled. However, the 10-point format tended to produce slightly lower relative means than either the 5-or 7-point scales (after the latter were rescaled). The overall mean score of the eight questions was 0.3 scale points lower for the 10-point format compared to the rescaled 5-and 7-point formats. This difference was statistically significant at p = 0.04. In terms of the other data characteristics, there was very little difference among the scale formats in terms of variation about the mean, skewness or kurtosis. This study is 'good news' for research departments or agencies who ponder whether changing scale format will destroy the comparability of historical data. 5-and 7-point scales can easily be rescaled with the resultant data being quite comparable. In the case of comparing 5-or 7-point data to 10-point data, a straightforward rescaling and arithmetic adjustment easily facilitates the comparison. The study suggests that indicators of customer sentiment – such as satisfaction surveys – may be partially dependent on the choice of scale format. A 5-or 7-point scale is likely to produce slightly higher mean scores relative to the highest possible attainable score, compared to that produced from a 10-point scale.
Article
Full-text available
Theories of issue evolution and issue manipulation suggest that ‘political losers’ in the party system can advance their position by introducing a new issue dimension. According to these theories, this strategy of issue entrepreneurship, i.e. the attempt to restructure political competition by mobilizing a previously non-salient issue dimension, allows political losers to attract new voters and reap electoral gains. In this study, we examine the extent to which these expectations hold by exploring issue entrepreneurial strategies by political parties when applied to the issue of European integration. Using multilevel modelling to analyse European Election Study data, we firstly show that voters are more likely to cast their ballot for parties which are losers on the extant dimension based on concerns related to European integration. Secondly, a time-series cross-sectional analysis demonstrates that parties which employ an issue entrepreneurial strategy are more successful electorally. In other words, voters are responsive to the issue entrepreneurial strategies of parties. These findings have important implications for our understanding of party competition and electoral behaviour in multiparty systems.
Article
Full-text available
As a dependent variable, party choice did not lend itself to analysis by means of powerful multivariate methods until the coming of discrete-choice models, most notably conditional logit and multinomial logit. These methods involve estimating effects on party preferences (utilities) that are post hoc derived from the data, but such estimates are plagued by a number of difficulties. These difficulties do not apply if advanced statistical procedures are used to analyze utilities directly measured with survey data. Such variables have been employed for a number of years and have been extensively validated in past research. Analysis of party choice on the basis of measured utilities is less hampered by restrictions and (often implausible) assumptions than discrete-choice modeling is. Particularly problematic is the inability of discrete-choice models to analyze small-party voting. The resulting elimination of voters of small parties results in strong biases of the coefficients of explanatory variables. No such need for eliminating cases arises when analyzing empirically observed utilities, so parameter estimates from these analyses do not contain this bias. Finally, observed utilities provide opportunities to answer research questions that cannot be answered with discrete-choice models, particularly in comparative research. We therefore urge that direct measures of electoral utilities should be included in all election studies.
Article
Full-text available
In this article we study Front National voting behaviour from a micro and macro perspective, by taking into account individual and contextual characteristics simultaneously. We test Žve theories that offer explanations as to why certain social categories, such as e.g. lowly educated people, people with a low income or younger people, are more likely to vote for the Front National. An unfavourable out-group attitude, an authoritarian attitude and a nonconformist attitude turn out to be unique for the Front National electorate, whereas identiŽcation with France and political dissatisfaction can be found among other electorates to the same extent. Between regions, large variance exists in Front National support which is explained partly by the number of immigrants present, but only indirectly by the unemployment level.
Article
What are the effects of labour market deregulation and increased immigration inflows on public attitudes towards immigration? Despite increased levels of dualism and free movement of labour in European countries over the last two decades, the effects of these policy developments are still unclear in the literature. This study argues that high concentrations of migrant workers in non-standard forms of employment decrease economic redistribution towards, and labour competition with, immigrants. Consequently, the politicisation of immigrant-native conflicts is paradoxically lower when immigration and labour market dualism cluster together at the occupational level. These claims are validated cross-nationally, and in a difference-in-differences setting analysing the impact of the 2005 German Immigration Act.
Article
The dramatic decline in vote shares on the mainstream left in many recent elections has led to a renewed discussion about a crisis of Social Democracy. One popular argument is that Social Democratic decline is the result of these parties' liberal cultural positions and pro-EU stance, with both topics increasingly salient for their traditional voters, particularly among the working class. However, we lack comparative evidence testing this argument. In this paper, we combine CHES data on party positions with ESS survey data to analyze the electoral effects of Social Democratic parties' second dimension and EU positions. In addition, we focus on whether support from different socio-economic groups is sensitive to these positions. In contrast to much public debate, we find that more authoritarian/nationalist and more anti-EU positions are if anything associated with lower rather than greater electoral support for social democratic parties.
Article
How can we explain the significant vote losses of mainstream parties across Europe in recent years? In this article, we argue that mainstream party convergence is an important determinant of the recent political and electoral volatility in European party systems. More specifically, we hypothesize that as mainstream parties converge on the left-right scale, voters will switch from supporting a mainstream party to a non-mainstream party in the next election as they look for an alternative that better represents their ideological views. To test our theoretical expectations, we combine data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems and the Manifestos Project for nearly 100,000 vote choices of individual voters in 30 elections in 16 West and East European countries from 2001 until 2013. Our findings have important implications for understanding the recent rise of non-mainstream parties, the changing nature of party systems and the increasing complexity of cabinet formation across Europe.
Article
This article investigates how the success of radical right parties affects the policy positions of mainstream parties. We do this using a regression discontinuity approach that allows us to causally attribute mainstream parties’ positional changes to radical right strength independent of public opinion as a potential confounder. Making use of exogenous variation created through differences in electoral thresholds, we empirically demonstrate that radical right success, indeed, causally affects mainstream parties’ positions. This is true for mainstream left as well as mainstream right parties. These findings make an important contribution to the broader literature on party competition as they indicate that other parties’ behavior and not only public opinion plays a crucial role in explaining parties’ policy shift.
Book
Social change and multicultural society in Western Europe against diversity - new right ideology in the new Europe individualism and xenophobia - radical right-wing populism in a comparative perspective the social basis of radical right-wing populism political conflict in the postmodern age.
Article
Does the presence of immigrants in one's neighborhood affect voting for far right-wing parties? We study the case of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) that, under the leadership of Jörg Haider, increased its vote share from less than 5% in the early 1980s to 27% by the end of the 1990s and continued to attract more than 20% of voters in the 2013 national election. We find that the inflow of immigrants into a community has a significant impact on the increase in the community's voting share for the FPÖ, explaining roughly a tenth of the regional variation in vote changes. Our results suggest that voters worry about adverse labor market effects of immigration, as well as about the quality of their neighborhood. In fact, we find evidence of a negative impact of immigration on “compositional amenities”. In communities with larger immigration influx, Austrian children commute longer distances to school, and fewer daycare resources are provided. We do not find evidence that Austrians move out of communities with increasing immigrant presence. (JEL: P16, J61)
Article
The far right party family is the fastest-growing party family in Europe. In addition to describing the ideological makeup of the far right party family, this review examines demand-side and supply-side explanations for its electoral success. Demand-side explanations focus on the grievances that create the "demand" for far right parties, whereas supply-side explanations focus on how the choices that far right parties make and the political opportunity structure in which they act influence their success. The review finishes by suggesting that far right scholars must recognize the interaction between demand-side and supply-side factors in their empirical analyses in order to draw valid inferences and that it would be productive to pay more attention to the political geography of far right support and the different stages of far right success.
Article
Why do some political parties flourish, while others flounder? In this book, Meguid examines variation in the electoral trajectories of the new set of single-issue parties: green, radical right, and ethnoterritorial parties. Instead of being dictated by electoral institutions or the socioeconomic climate, as the dominant theories contend, the fortunes of these niche parties, she argues, are shaped by the strategic responses of mainstream parties. She advances a new theory of party competition in which mainstream parties facing unequal competitors have access to a wider and more effective set of strategies than posited by standard spatial models. Combining statistical analyzes with in-depth case studies from Western Europe, the book explores how and why established parties undermine niche parties or turn them into weapons against their mainstream party opponents. This study of competition between unequals thus provides broader insights into the nature and outcome of competition between political equals.
Article
The core puzzle which this book resolves is to explain why radical right parties have advanced in a diverse array of democracies--including Austria, Canada, Norway, France, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, Israel, Romania, Russia, and Chile--while failing to make comparable gains in similar societies elsewhere, such as Sweden, Britain, and the United States. This book expands our understanding of support for radical right parties by presenting an integrated new theory which is then tested systematically using a wealth of cross-national survey evidence covering almost forty countries.
Article
This research note describes an update to Golder's (2005) Democratic Electoral Systems (DES) dataset. We extend the temporal scope of the original dataset by including all legislative and presidential elections that took place in democratic states from 2001 to 2011. In addition to significantly expanding the size of the DES dataset, we offer a simplified classification scheme for electoral systems. We also provide more detailed information about all democratic elections since 1946, including the dates for each round of elections as well as the rules used in different electoral tiers. A brief temporal and geographic overview of the data is presented.
Article
Theory: This paper develops and applies an issue ownership theory of voting that emphasizes the role of campaigns in setting the criteria for voters to choose between candidates. It expects candidates to emphasize issues on which they are advantaged and their opponents are less well regarded. It explains the structural factors and party system variables which lead candidates to differentially emphasize issues. It invokes theories of priming and framing to explain the electorate's response. Hypotheses: Issue emphases are specific to candidates; voters support candidates with a party and performance based reputation for greater competence on handling the issues about which the voter is concerned. Aggregate election outcomes and individual votes follow the problem agenda. Method: Content analysis of news reports, open-ended voter reports of important problems, and the vote are analyzed with graphic displays and logistic regression analysis for presidential elections between 1960 and 1992. Results: Candidates do have distinctive patterns of problem emphases in their campaigns; election outcomes do follow the problem concerns of voters; the individual vote is significantly influenced by these problem concerns above and beyond the effects of the standard predictors.
Article
How does voter polarisation affect party responsiveness? Previous research has shown that political parties emphasise political issues that are important to their voters. However, it is posited in this article that political parties are not equally responsive to citizen demands across all issue areas. The hypothesis is that party responsiveness varies considerably with the preference configuration of the electorate. More specifically, it is argued that party responsiveness increases with the polarisation of issues among voters. To test these theoretical expectations, party responsiveness is analysed across nine West European countries from 1982 until 2013. Data on voter attention and voter preferences with regard to specific policy issues from a variety of national election studies is combined with Comparative Manifestos Project data on parties' emphasis of these issues in their election manifestos. The findings have major implications for understanding party competition and political representation in Europe.
Article
What are the political effects of rising radical right-wing parties (RRPs) in Western Europe? Does the rise of the parties drive mainstream parties (MPs) to become more restrictive on issues mobilised by RRPs, such as multiculturalism? Analysing manifesto data from 1981 to 2008, it is found that the rise of RRPs makes right-wing MPs adopt more restrictive positions regarding multiculturalism. However, left-wing MPs do so only when the opinion of party supporters on foreigners becomes more negative or when the parties lost more votes in the previous election than their opponent right-wing MPs did. The result implies that niche parties with extremist positions can benefit from their own electoral success by dragging MPs toward their own positions. However, the impact of rising niche parties on MPs should be understood against a broader background of party competition, and the impact can be dissimilar between MPs with different ideological commitment and strategic opportunities.
Article
Researchers in comparative research increasingly use multilevel models to test effects of country-level factors on individual behavior and preferences. However, the asymptotic justification of widely employed estimation strategies presumes large samples and applications in comparative politics routinely involve only a small number of countries. Thus, researchers and reviewers often wonder if these models are applicable at all. In other words, how many countries do we need for multilevel modeling? I present results from a large-scale Monte Carlo experiment comparing the performance of multilevel models when few countries are available. I find that maximum likelihood estimates and confidence intervals can be severely biased, especially in models including cross-level interactions. In contrast, the Bayesian approach proves to be far more robust and yields considerably more conservative tests.
Article
Recent studies analyze how citizens update their perceptions of parties’ left-right positions in response to new political information. We extend this research to consider the issue of European integration, and we report theoretical and empirical analyses that citizens do not update their perceptions of parties’ positions in response to election manifestos, but that citizens’ perceptions of parties’ positions do track political experts’ perceptions of these positions, and, moreover, that it is party supporters who disproportionately perceive their preferred party's policy shifts. Given that experts plausibly consider a wide range of information, these findings imply that citizens weigh the wider informational environment when assessing parties’ positions. We also present evidence that citizens’ perceptions of party position shifts matter, in that they drive partisan sorting in the mass public.
Article
Since the 1960s, new left-socialist or ecology parties have appeared in approximately half of the advanced Western democracies. These parties have a common set of egalitarian and libertarian tenets and appeal to younger, educated voters. The author uses macropolitical and economic data to explain the electoral success of these left-libertarian parties. While high levels of economic development are favorable preconditions for their emergence, they are best explained in terms of domestic political opportunity structures. There is little evidence that these parties are a reaction to economic and social crises in advanced democracies. The findings suggest that the rise of left-libertarian parties is the result of a new cleavage mobilized in democratic party systems rather than of transient protest.
Article
Here, I introduce a novel approach towards data collection for comparative research and present a new data infrastructure on parties, elections and governments, the Parliament and Government Composition Database (ParlGov). This data infrastructure combines a database, data presentation in webpages and software scripts in order to generate more dynamic datasets and to facilitate cooperation. So far, it includes information about more than 1000 parties, around 600 elections (national and European Parliament) and almost 1000 governments with their party composition. These observations are linked to a wide set of information about party positions and make it possible to derive various datasets for studies in political science. To provide a first glance into the potential of this new data infrastructure, I map the political space of the European Union (EU) by drawing on this source.
Article
In this article, the author argues that a gender gap exists in the vote for the radical right and that this gender gap can be explained using techniques drawn from the literature on mainstream gender gaps. The analysis emphasizes the impact of the immigration issue on the vote for the radical right. Logit and regression analysis are used to determine what can be explained by structural, situational, and political factors versus gender alone in France, Germany, and Austria. It is found that there is a gender gap, but it varies across the three cases; that attitudes toward political issues, particularly immigration, have a disproportionate impact on the probability of voting radical right but not on the gender gap specifically; and that there is a difference between men and women on the immigration issue, and blue-collar workers are more likely to be anti-immigrant than those in other sectors.
Article
Methodological problems associated with selection bias and interaction effects have hindered the accumulation of systematic knowledge about the factors that explain cross-national variation in the success of extreme right parties. The author uses a statistical analysis that takes account of these problems to examine the effect of electoral institutions, unemployment, and immigration on the support for these parties. The data set used in this analysis is new and spans 19 countries and 165 national elections. There are four substantive conclusions. The first is that it is important to distinguish between neofascist and populist parties on the extreme right because their fortunes depend on different factors. The second is that populist parties do better in countries where the district magnitude is larger and more seats are allocated in upper tiers. The third is that although immigration has a positive effect on populist parties irrespective of the unemployment level, unemployment only matters when immigration is high. Finally, there is evidence that the permissiveness of the electoral system mediates the effect of immigration on populist parties.
Article
The rise and mainstreaming of Europe's Green parties has not only enlarged the left bloc in many party systems but helped to drive a trend toward bipolar competition. This article argues that the rise and mainstreaming of far right parties has done the same for the other side and reinforced the trend. This change in the political opportunity structure was not simply seized upon but in part engineered by a centre-right willing to rely on former pariahs for legislative majorities. By adopting some of the far right's themes, it legitimised them and increased both their salience and the seats it brought into an expanded right bloc. Once in office, the centre-right has demonstrated its commitment to getting tough on immigration, crime and welfare abuse, not least to distract from a somewhat surprising turn toward market liberalism. The analysis concludes by asking what this means for both bipolar blocs in the longer term.
Article
This article assesses the extent to which spatial distance accounts for variations in levels of aggregate electoral mobility, following the hypothesis that more extended distances result in less mobility. Distances are derived from an analysis of the economic policy content of election programmes in eleven West European democracies between 1945 and 1985. Two indices are devised, one measuring the distance between the most extreme parties, and the other measuring the distance between the class‐left block of parties and all other parties. The first index proves inadequate as a test of the hypothesis, being largely dependent upon the number of parties in competition. The second index offers quite strong support for the hypothesis and shows that voters are more likely to be volatile in situations in which policy distances are relatively abbreviated. The comparison between the two indices yields a number of important substantive and methodological implications for the empirical analysis of the political space of competition.
Article
What accounts for variation in the electoral success of niche parties? Although institutional and sociological explanations of single-issue party strength have been dominant, they tend to remove parties from the analysis. In this article, I argue that the behavior of mainstream parties influences the electoral fortunes of the new, niche party actors. In contrast to standard spatial theories, my theory recognizes that party tactics work by altering the salience and ownership of issues for political competition, not just party issue positions. It follows that niche party support can be shaped by both proximal and non-proximal competitors. Analysis of green and radical right party vote in 17 Western European countries from 1970 to 2000 confirms that mainstream party strategies matter; the modified spatial theory accounts for the failure and success of niche parties across countries and over time better than institutional, sociological, and even standard spatial explanations.
Article
Research on the voters of the extreme right in Western Europe has become a minor industry, but relatively little attention has been paid to the twin question of why support for these parties is often unstable, and why the extreme right is so weak in many countries. Moreover, the findings from different studies often contradict each other. This article aims at providing a more comprehensive and satisfactory answer to this research problem by employing a broader database and a more adequate modeling strategy. The main finding is that while immigration and unemployment rates are important, their interaction with other political factors is much more complex than suggested by previous research. Moreover, persistent country effects prevail even if a whole host of individual and contextual variables is controlled for.
Article
West European right-wing extremist parties have received a great deal of attention over the past two decades due to their electoral success. What has received less coverage, however, is the fact that these parties have not enjoyed a consistent level of electoral support across Western Europe during this period. This article puts forward an explanation of the variation in the right-wing extremist party vote across Western Europe that incorporates a wider range of factors than have been considered previously. It begins by examining the impact of socio-demographic variables on the right-wing extremist party vote. Then, it turns its attention to a whole host of structural factors that may potentially affect the extreme right party vote, including institutional, party-system and conjunctural variables. The article concludes with an assessment of which variables have the most power in explaining the uneven electoral success of right-wing extremist parties across Western Europe. The findings go some way towards challenging the conventional wisdom as to how the advance of the parties of the extreme right may be halted.
Article
Although extensive research analyzes the factors that motivate European parties to shift their policy positions, there is little cross-national research that analyzes how voters respond to parties’ policy shifts. We report pooled, time-series analyses of election survey data from several European polities, which suggest that voters do not systematically adjust their perceptions of parties’ positions in response to shifts in parties’ policy statements during election campaigns. We also find no evidence that voters adjust their Left-Right positions or their partisan loyalties in response to shifts in parties’ campaign-based policy statements. By contrast, we find that voters do respond to their subjective perceptions of the parties’ positions. Our findings have important implications for party policy strategies and for political representation.
Article
Given how central the immigration issue has been for the new radical right-wing parties in Western Europe, many have turned to immigration-related factors in trying to explain their emergence and electoral mobilisation. This research has convincingly shown that immigration scepticism (i.e., wanting to reduce immigration) is among the principal factors for predicting who will vote for a radical right-wing party. However, earlier studies have often uncritically equated immigration scepticism with xenophobia or even racism. By using data from the first round of the European Social Survey (2003) involving six West European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway), this article differentiates between immigration scepticism and xenophobic attitudes. The analyses strongly indicate that xenophobic attitudes are a far less significant factor than immigration scepticism for predicting who will vote for the new radical right. Moreover, this article analyses the extent to which anti-immigration frames employed by radical right-wing parties resonate with attitudes held by supporting voters, and to what extent they make a difference for people's decision to vote for the radical right. The analyses indicate that frames linking immigration to criminality and social unrest are particularly effective for mobilising voter support for the radical right. Finally, the article criticises earlier research that explained radical right-wing voting with reference to ethnic competition theory. In contrast to much of the earlier research that used macro-level measures and comparisons, this study uses (self-reported) individual-level data on the degree of ethnic heterogeneity of people's area of residence. Hypotheses derived from ethnic competition theory receive less support than expected, which indicates that earlier research may have overestimated the significance of these factors.
Article
  This article starts from the assumption that the current process of globalization or denationalization leads to the formation of a new structural conflict in Western European countries, opposing those who benefit from this process against those who tend to lose in the course of the events. The structural opposition between globalization ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ is expected to constitute potentials for political mobilization within national political contexts, the mobilization of which is expected to give rise to two intimately related dynamics: the transformation of the basic structure of the national political space and the strategic repositioning of the political parties within the transforming space. The article presents several hypotheses with regard to these two dynamics and tests them empirically on the basis of new data concerning the supply side of electoral politics from six Western European countries (Austria, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland). The results indicate that in all the countries, the new cleavage has become embedded into existing two-dimensional national political spaces, that the meaning of the original dimensions has been transformed, and that the configuration of the main parties has become triangular even in a country like France.
Article
Over the last three decades many Western European social democratic parties have been challenged by populist radical right parties. The growth and success of parties on the right flank of the party system represents a triple challenge to the social democrats: they increase the salience of issues traditionally ‘owned’ by the right; they appeal to working-class voters who traditionally support the centre left; and they may facilitate the formation of centre-right governments. This article explores social democratic parties' strategic options in the face of this challenge, and tests the widespread assumption that the centre-left parties respond by taking a tougher stance on issues related to immigration and integration. Comparative analysis of developments in Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway reveals significant variation in the substance, scope and pace of the strategic responses of their social democratic parties. And it suggests that those responses are influenced not only by the far right but also by the reactions of mainstream centre-right parties and by parties on their left (and liberal) flank. Internal disunity, potential or actual, is also an important factor.
Article
World Development Indicators, the World Bank's respected statistical publication presents the most current and accurate information on global development on both a national level and aggregated globally. This information allows readers to monitor the progress made toward meeting the goals endorsed by the United Nations and its member countries, the World Bank, and a host of partner organizations in September 2001 in their Millennium Development Goals. The print edition of World Development Indicators 2005 allows you to consult over 80 tables and over 800 indicators for 152 economies and 14 country groups, as well as basic indicators for a further 55 economies. There are key indicators for the latest year available, important regional data, and income group analysis. The report contains six thematic presentations of analytical commentary covering: World View, People, Environment, Economy, States and Markets, and Global Links.
Article
Previously published as an Appendix to the World development report. Incl. users guide, list of acronyms, bibl., index. The Little data book is a pocket edition of WDI
Article
Winner of the American Political Science Association's 1996 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award. The rise of new political competitors on the radical right is a central feature of many contemporary European party systems. The first study of its kind based on a wide array of comparative survey data, The Radical Right in Western Europe: A Comparative Analysis provides a unifying framework to explain why rightist parties are electorally powerful in some countries but not in others. The book argues that changes in social structure and the economy do not by themselves adequately explain the success of extremist parties. Instead we must look to the competitive struggles among parties, their internal organizational patterns, and their long-term ideological traditions to understand the principles governing their success. Radical right authoritarian parties tend to emerge when moderate parties converge toward the median voter. But the success of these parties depends on the strategy employed by the right-wing political actors. Herbert Kitschelt's in-depth analysis, based on the experiences of rightist parties in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Britain, reveals that the broadest appeal is enjoyed by parties that couple a fierce commitment to free markets with authoritarian, ethnocentric--or even racist--messages. The author also shows how a country's particular political constituency or its intellectual and organizational legacies may allow right-wing parties to diverge from these norms and still find electoral success. The book concludes by exploring the interaction between the development of the welfare state, cultural pluralization through immigrants, and the growth of the extreme right. Herbert Kitschelt is Professor of Political Science at both Duke University and Humboldt University, Berlin. Anthony McGann is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Duke University.