Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

What unites the voter bases of populist parties? Comparing the electorates of 15 populist parties

  • Matthijs Rooduijn (a1)
Abstract

Various scholars have argued and demonstrated that Western European populist parties have something in common. Although these parties adhere to various ideologies and employ different organizational forms and political styles, they all endorse a similar set of ideas concerning the relationship between the people and the elite. Yet despite our increasing knowledge about these parties, so far we know only very little about populist voters. Do the voter bases of populist parties also have something in common? To answer that question, I focus on the electorates of 15 prototypical populist parties from 11 Western European countries. I show that, in contrast with widely held beliefs, the electorates of populist parties do not always consist of individuals who are more likely to be ‘losers of globalization’ with Eurosceptic attitudes, low levels of political trust, and preferences for (more) direct democracy. This suggests that ‘the’ populist voter does not exist.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*E-mail: M.Rooduijn@uva.nl
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. Akkerman , C. Mudde and A. Zaslove (2014), ‘How populist are the people? Measuring populist attitudes in voters’, Comparative Political Studies 47(9): 13241353.

D. Albertazzi (2008), ‘Switzerland: yet another populist paradise’, in D. Albertazzi and D. McDonnell (eds), Twenty-First Century Populism, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 100118.

D. Albertazzi and D. McDonnell (eds) (2008), Twenty-First Century Populism: The Spectre of Western European Democracy, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

D. Albertazzi and S. Mueller (2013), ‘Populism and liberal democracy: populists in government in Austria, Italy, Poland and Switzerland’, Government and Opposition 48(3): 343371.

K. Arzheimer (2009), ‘Contextual factors and the extreme right vote in western Europe, 1980–2002’, American Journal of Political Science 53(2): 259275.

K. Arzheimer and E. Carter (2006), ‘Political opportunity structures and right-wing extremist party success’, European Journal of Political Research 45(3): 419443.

B.N. Bakker , M. Rooduijn and G. Schumacher (2016), ‘The psychological roots of populist voting: evidence from the United States, the Netherlands and Germany’, European Journal of Political Research 55(2): 302320.

R.R. Barr (2009), ‘Populists, outsiders and anti-establishment politics’, Party Politics 15(1): 2948.

E. Bélanger and K. Aarts (2006), ‘Explaining the rise of the LPF: issues, discontent, and the 2002 Dutch election’, Acta Politica 41(1): 420.

J. Bergh (2004), ‘Protest voting in Austria, Denmark, and Norway’, Scandinavian Political Studies 27(4): 367389.

J. Bernauer and A. Vatter (2012), ‘Can’t get no satisfaction with the Westminster model? Winners, losers and the effects of consensual and direct democratic institutions on satisfaction with democracy’, European Journal of Political Research 51(4): 435468.

H.-G. Betz (1994), Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe, Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan.

M. Bovens and A. Wille (2010), ‘The education gap in participation and its political consequences’, Acta Politica 45(4): 393422.

M. Canovan (2002), ‘Taking politics to the people: populism as the ideology of democracy’, in Y. Mény and Y. Surel (eds), Democracies and the Populist Challenge, New York: Palgrave, pp. 2544.

C.E. De Vries and E.E. Edwards (2009), ‘Taking Europe to its extremes: extremist parties and public Euroscepticism’, Party Politics 15(1): 528.

D. Doyle (2011), ‘The legitimacy of political institutions: explaining contemporary populism in Latin America’, Comparative Political Studie 44(11): 14471473.

M. Elchardus and B. Spruyt (2016), ‘Populism, persistent republicanism and declinism: an empirical analysis of populism as a thin ideology’, Government and Opposition 51(1): 111133.

R. Erikson , J.H. Goldthorpe and L. Portocarero (1979), ‘Intergenerational class mobility in three Western European societies: England, France and Sweden’, The British Journal of Sociology 30(4): 415441.

S. Fella and C. Ruzza (2013), ‘Populism and the fall of the centre-right in Italy: the end of the Berlusconi model or a new beginning?’, Journal of Contemporary European Studies 21(1): 3852.

D. Halikiopoulou , K. Nanou and S. Vasilopoulou (2012), ‘The paradox of nationalism: the common denominator of radical right and radical left Euroscepticism’, European Journal of Political Research 51(4): 504539.

R. Harmsen (2010), ‘Concluding comment: on understanding the relationship between populism and Euroscepticism’, Perspectives on European Politics and Society 11(3): 333341.

K.A. Hawkins (2009), ‘Is Chávez populist?: Measuring populist discourse in comparative perspective’, Comparative Political Studies 42(8): 10401067.

K.A. Hawkins (2010), Venezuela’s Chavismo and Populism in Comparative Perspective , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

R. Heinisch (2008), ‘Austria: the structure and agency of Austrian populism’, in D. Albertazzi and D. McDonnell (eds), Twenty-First Century Populism, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 6783.

L. Hooghe , G. Marks and C.J. Wilson (2002), ‘Does left/right structure party positions on European integration?’, Comparative Political Studies 35(8): 965989.

M. Hooghe , S. Marien and T. Pauwels (2013), ‘Where do distrusting voters turn if there is no viable exit or voice option? The impact of political trust on electoral behaviour in the Belgian regional elections of June 2009’, Government and Opposition 46(2): 245273.

E. Ivarsflaten (2008), ‘What unites right-wing populists in Western Europe?’, Comparative Political Studies 41(1): 323.

J. Jagers and S. Walgrave (2007), ‘Populism as political communication style: an empirical study of political parties’ discourse in Belgium’, European Journal of Political Research 46(3): 319345.

H. Kriesi , E. Grande , R. Lachat , M. Dolezal and S. Bornschier (2008), West European Politics in the Age of Globalization, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

H. Kriesi , E. Grande , R. Lachat , M. Dolezal , S. Bornschier and T. Frey (2006), ‘Globalization and the transformation of the national political space: six European countries compared’, European Journal of Political Research 45(6): 921956.

M. Lubbers , M. Gijsberts and P. Scheepers (2002), ‘Extreme right-wing voting in Western Europe’, European Journal of Political Research 41(3): 345378.

Y. Mény and Y. Surel (2002a), Democracies and the Populist Challenge, New York: Palgrave.

Y. Mény and Y. Surel (2002b), ‘The constitutive ambiguity of populism’, in Y. Mény and Y. Surel (eds), Democracies and the Populist Challenge, New York: Palgrave, pp. 121.

C. Mudde (2004), ‘The populist Zeitgeist’, Government and Opposition 39(3): 541563.

C. Mudde (2007), Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

C. Mudde and C. Rovira Kaltwasser (eds) (2012), Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat or Corrective for Democracy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

T. Pauwels (2010), ‘Explaining the success of neo-liberal populist parties: the case of Lijst Dedecker in Belgium’, Political Studies 58(5): 10091029.

T. Pauwels (2011a), ‘Explaining the strange decline of the populist radical right Vlaams Belang in Belgium: the impact of permanent opposition’, Acta Politica 46(1): 6082.

T. Pauwels (2011b), ‘Measuring populism: a quantitative text analysis of party literature in Belgium’, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 21(1): 97119.

L. Ramiro (2016), ‘Support for radical left parties in Western Europe: social background, ideology and political orientations’, European Political Science Review 8(1): 123.

M. Rooduijn (2014), ‘The mesmerising message: the diffusion of populism in public debates in Western European media’, Political Studies 62(4): 726744.

M. Rooduijn and T. Akkerman (2017), ‘Flank attacks: populism and left-right radicalism in Western Europe,’’, Party Politics 23(3): 193204.

M. Rooduijn , S.L. De Lange and W. van der Brug (2014), ‘A populist Zeitgeist? Programmatic contagion by populist parties in Western Europe’, Party Politics 20(4): 563575.

C. Rovira Kaltwasser (2012), ‘The ambivalence of populism: threat and corrective for democracy’, Democratization 19(2): 184208.

J. Rydgren (2004), ‘Explaining the emergence of radical right-wing populist parties: the case of Denmark’, West European Politics 27(3): 474502.

G. Schumacher and M. Rooduijn (2013), ‘Sympathy for the “devil”? Voting for populists in the 2006 and 2010 Dutch general elections’, Electoral Studies 32(1): 124133.

B. Stanley (2008), ‘The thin ideology of populism’, Journal of Political Ideologies 13(1): 95110.

Y. Surel (2002), ‘Populism in the French party system’, in Y. Mény and Y. Surel (eds), Democracies and the Populist Challenge, New York: Palgrave, pp. 139154.

M. Swyngedouw (2001), ‘The subjective cognitive and affective map of extreme right voters: using open-ended questions in exit polls’, Electoral Studies 20(2): 217241.

M. Tarchi (2008), ‘Italy: a country of many populisms’, in D. Albertazzi and D. McDonnell (eds), Twenty-First Century Populism, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 8499.

W. Van der Brug , M. Fennema and J. Tillie (2000), ‘Anti-immigrant parties in Europe: ideological or protest vote?’, European Journal of Political Research 37(1): 77102.

W. Van der Brug , M. Fennema and J. Tillie (2005), ‘Why some anti-immigrant parties fail and others succeed’, Comparative Political Studies 38(5): 537573.

S. Van Kessel (2011), ‘Explaining the electoral performance of populist parties: the Netherlands as a case study’, Perspectives on European Politics and Society 12(1): 6888.

S. Van Kessel (2015), Populist Parties in Europe: Agents of Discontent?, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

M. Visser , M. Lubbers , G. Kraaykamp and E. Jaspers (2014), ‘Support for radical left ideologies in Europe’, European Journal of Political Research 53(3): 541558.

K. Vossen (2011), ‘Classifying Wilders: the ideological development of Geert Wilders and his party for freedom’, Politics 31(3): 179189.

P. Webb (2013), ‘Who is willing to participate? Dissatisfied democrats, stealth democrats and populists in the United Kingdom’, European Journal of Political Research 52(6): 747772.

H. Werts , P. Scheepers and M. Lubbers (2013), ‘Euro-scepticism and radical right-wing voting in Europe, 2002-2008: social cleavages, socio-political attitudes and contextual characteristics determining voting for the radical right’, European Union Politics 14(2): 183205.

K. Weyland (2001), ‘Clarifying a contested concept: populism in the study of Latin American politics’, Comparative Politics 34(1): 122.

K. Zhirkov (2014), ‘Nativist but not alienated: a comparative perspective on the radical right vote in Western Europe’, Party Politics 20(2): 286296.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

European Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 1755-7739
  • EISSN: 1755-7747
  • URL: /core/journals/european-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary Materials

Rooduijn supplementary material
Online Appendix

 Word (112 KB)
112 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 11
Total number of PDF views: 179 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1274 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th June 2017 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.