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What Unites the Electorally Successful Populist Radical Right in Western Europe 2.0

Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 1:30 pm – 3:10 pm

Elisabeth Ivarsflaten:
What Unites the Electorally Successful Populist Radical Right in Western Europe 2.0

Using data collected in the first immigration module of the ESS in 2002/3, I analyzed which voter grievances electorally successful populist radical right in Western Europe most effectively mobilized. This study examined a range of hypotheses under the headlines grievances over the economy, grievances over the political system, and grievances over immigration. The analysis showed that voters´ grievances over immigration was both (a) the only concern that all successful populist radical right parties consistently mobilized in all the detailed country-by-country analyses; and (b) the variable with the most explanatory power when pooling the data across countries in a model of the populist radical right vote. The complete analysis was published in an article in Comparative Political Studies (Ivarsflaten 2008). This talk is based on data from the new immigration module in the ESS collected in 2015. The strategy is to redo the earlier analysis to examine whether the conclusions still hold. On the one hand, there are reasons to believe that this would be the case, but, on the other hand, fundamental changes have taken place in European politics between 2003 and 2015. For example, new populist radical right parties have emerged, there has been a financial crisis, and populist anti-etablishment and anti-EU sentiment has risen. The results of the new analysis confirm that immigration is still the core grievance mobilized by electorally successful populist radical right parties in Western Europe. As in the previous analysis, grievances over immigration is both the only concern consistently mobilized by all populist radical right parties and the grievance with the most explanatory power in a pooled analysis. Some noteworthy changes are, however, identified. Most importantly, the results show that grievances over the EU and political elites has become much more prominent explanations for the populist radical right vote.

Elisabeth Ivarsflaten is Professor of Political Science and Scientific Director of the Digital Social Science Core Facility (DIGSSCORE) at the University of Bergen. She is Professor II at the Centre for Research on Right-Wing Extremism, the University of Oslo. She is the main Norwegian partner of the Project “Less Hate, More Speech” led by Marina Popescu. Ivarsflaten’s work focuses on the populist radical right and public opinion. She was Postdoctoral Prize Research Fellow and holds a Ph D in political science from Nuffield College, Oxford University.

Discussed in the context of the American Presidential Election please see here.

Elisabeth Ivarsflaten is the Norwegian team leader in Less Hate, More Speech: An Experimental and Comparative Study in Media and Political Elites’ Ability to Nurture Civil, Tolerant, Pro-Democratic Citizens, research project of the Median Research Centre (Romania), the University of Bergen (Norway) and the Central European University.

For more about the project, see here.

The project is financed through the EEA Financial Mechanism 2009-2014, EEA Research Programme.