Electoral Sociology: Who votes for the Extreme Right?

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Conference presentation on the Electoral Sociology of the Extreme Right

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Electoral Sociology: Who votes for the Extreme Right?

  1. 1. Electoral Sociology: Who votes for the ExtremeRight – and when?Kai ArzheimerUniversity of Mainz, Germany/University of Essex, UK
  2. 2. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionOverviewTheoryDataFindingsWho?Why?When and where?DiscussionKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (1/15)
  3. 3. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWhat is the “Extreme Right”?Terminology: endless controversyShopping lists of spatial, ideological and other criteriaRadical/Far/Populist/New/Xenophobic Right . . .“We know who they are . . . ” (Mudde 1995)FeaturesLess than well integrated(Very) right on most issues, immigration as core issueThe Usual Suspects: Front National, Vlaams Blok/Belang,Republicans . . .Plus Borderline Cases: AN, SVP . . .Immigration from outside Western Europe as main (or only)issueKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (2/15)
  4. 4. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionTheoretical accounts of Extreme Right Voting?1. Personality Traits and ValueOrientations2. Social Disintegration3. Group Conflicts (scapegoatingrational choice) → relativedeprivationKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (3/15)
  5. 5. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionTheoretical accounts of Extreme Right Voting?1. Personality Traits and ValueOrientations2. Social Disintegration3. Group Conflicts (scapegoatingrational choice) → relativedeprivationProblems“Overlap”Cross-national andcross-temporalvariationKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (3/15)
  6. 6. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionTheoretical accounts of Extreme Right Voting?1. Personality Traits and ValueOrientations2. Social Disintegration3. Group Conflicts (scapegoatingrational choice) → relativedeprivation4. Contextual ExplanationsProblems“Overlap”Cross-national andcross-temporalvariationKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (3/15)
  7. 7. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionTheoretical accounts of Extreme Right Voting?1. Personality Traits and ValueOrientations2. Social Disintegration3. Group Conflicts (scapegoatingrational choice) → relativedeprivation4. Contextual ExplanationsProblems“Overlap”Cross-national andcross-temporalvariationContextual Explanations?Party FeaturesPolitical Opportunities, public opinionOther Contextual FactorsKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (3/15)
  8. 8. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionTheoretical accounts of Extreme Right Voting?1. Personality Traits and ValueOrientations2. Social Disintegration3. Group Conflicts (scapegoatingrational choice) → relativedeprivation4. Contextual ExplanationsProblems“Overlap”Cross-national andcross-temporalvariationContextual Explanations?Party FeaturesPolitical Opportunities, public opinionOther Contextual Factorslatent support manifest supportKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (3/15)
  9. 9. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWhich comparative data are available?1. Cross-sections of micro-dataEuropean Election Studies (2009: not yet)European Social Survey (2002/2003)Sweet but short, 10,000-15,000 respondents per waveKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (4/15)
  10. 10. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWhich comparative data are available?1. Cross-sections of micro-dataEuropean Election Studies (2009: not yet)European Social Survey (2002/2003)Sweet but short, 10,000-15,000 respondents per wave2. Longitudinal micro-data DataEurobarometer1980s-2000sContextual analyses across time and countries≈ 250,000 respondentsKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (4/15)
  11. 11. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWhich comparative data are available?1. Cross-sections of micro-dataEuropean Election Studies (2009: not yet)European Social Survey (2002/2003)Sweet but short, 10,000-15,000 respondents per wave2. Longitudinal micro-data DataEurobarometer1980s-2000sContextual analyses across time and countries≈ 250,000 respondents3. Contextual information: OECD, UNHCR, party manifestos,election statistics . . .Kai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (4/15)
  12. 12. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Sociodemographics: genderMen roughly 40% more likely to vote for the ER (not in Italyin recent elections)Even if we control for other factors (class, education,attitudes)More likely to admit? But: German “Representative ElectoralStatistics”Kai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (5/15)
  13. 13. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Sociodemographics: educationCitizens with University education least likely to vote for ERLiberal values?(Economic) interests?Social desirability?Much, much more support in lower (but not necessarilylowest) educational strataFear of competition worse than actual competition? –evidence is weakKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (6/15)
  14. 14. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Sociodemographics: class and ageMembers of the working/lower middle class much more likelyto support the Extreme RightYoung (30-45, < 30) voters more likely to support theExtreme RightDisproportional support from the unemployedNot affiliated with established partiesKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (7/15)
  15. 15. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Sociodemographics: summaryNon-traditional working class parties“Typical” voter: white, male, youngish, low (but not lowest)level of qualificationKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (8/15)
  16. 16. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Ideology and valuesMaterialism vs. PostmaterialismDissatisfaction with European IntegrationDissatisfaction with the way democracy works in one’s owncountryKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (9/15)
  17. 17. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Ideology and valuesMaterialism vs. PostmaterialismDissatisfaction with European IntegrationDissatisfaction with the way democracy works in one’s owncountryLeft-Right-Self-EvaluationKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (9/15)
  18. 18. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Immigration and xenophobiaCross-sections: 2002/2003 + 1990sHigh levels of xenophobia and perceived competitionFocus on Non-Western European immigrantsNon-religious concern about IslamKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (10/15)
  19. 19. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Which contextual factors?Why variation within/between countries?Theory → factorsKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (11/15)
  20. 20. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?Which contextual factors?Why variation within/between countries?Theory → factorsImmigration (asylum seekers)Unemployment rates and benefitsSalience (and variation) of Extreme Right issues in otherparties’ manifestos(Media)Kai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (11/15)
  21. 21. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?FindingsImmigration → Extreme Right support ceteris paribus)Higher levels of benefits → Extreme Right support (ifimmigration is low) – welfare chauvinism?Unemployment rate → Extreme Right support (if immigrationor benefits levels are very low)At high levels of immigration, benefits curb effect ofunemploymentKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (12/15)
  22. 22. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?FindingsImmigration → Extreme Right support ceteris paribus)Higher levels of benefits → Extreme Right support (ifimmigration is low) – welfare chauvinism?Unemployment rate → Extreme Right support (if immigrationor benefits levels are very low)At high levels of immigration, benefits curb effect ofunemploymentSalience (regardless of direction) has clear effect on ExtremeRight supportKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (12/15)
  23. 23. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWho?Why?When and where?FindingsImmigration → Extreme Right support ceteris paribus)Higher levels of benefits → Extreme Right support (ifimmigration is low) – welfare chauvinism?Unemployment rate → Extreme Right support (if immigrationor benefits levels are very low)At high levels of immigration, benefits curb effect ofunemploymentSalience (regardless of direction) has clear effect on ExtremeRight supportContextual factors can “tip the balance” in ≈ 13 of all casesKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (12/15)
  24. 24. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionWhat have we learned so far?Clear socio-demographic profile: young, male, working/lowermiddle classClear attitudinal profile:Not necessarily fully paid-up extremistsBut dissatisfied with politics and suspicious of immigrants andelitesLittle support for disintegration thesisPersonality traits?In line with theories of values, preferences, group conflictContextual factors often make a differenceKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (13/15)
  25. 25. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionBut . . .Very strong country effects remain after controlling for contextLimits on contextual control variablesMore/better information on partiesComparative media studiesKai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (14/15)
  26. 26. TheoryDataFindingsDiscussionThank you!Kai Arzheimer Extreme Right Voting: Who, Why, When? (15/15)

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