Skip to main content
×
×
Home

A Spiral of Distrust: A Panel Study on the Relation between Political Distrust and Protest Voting in Belgium

  • Marc Hooghe and Ruth Dassonneville
Abstract

Low levels of political trust are associated with a preference for protest parties. Some authors have argued that in this manner protest parties indirectly contribute to the stability of electoral democracy, functioning as a ‘safety valve’ for political discontent. In this article, we investigate the relationship between protest voting and political trust in a dynamic perspective, relying on a five-year Belgian panel study. We confirm that citizens with low levels of political trust are more likely to vote for protest parties. Additionally, we point out that decreasing levels of trust significantly increase the probability of voting for a protest party, even controlling for absolute levels of trust. Most importantly, having voted for a protest party in 2009 is linked to a subsequent further drop in political trust during the 2009–14 observation period. The panel analysis suggests that distrust and protest voting reinforce one another, leading to a potential spiral of distrust.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Marc Hooghe is Professor of Political Science at the University of Leuven. Contact email: marc.hooghe@soc.kuleuven.be.

Ruth Dassonneville is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Montreal. Contact email: ruth.dassonneville@umontreal.ca.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Arzheimer, K. (2009), ‘Contextual Factors and the Extreme Right Vote in Western Europe, 1980–2002’, American Journal of Political Science, 53(2): 259275.
Bélanger, É. and Aarts, K. (2006), ‘Explaining the Rise of the LPF: Issues, Discontent, and the 2002 Dutch Election’, Acta Politica, 41(1): 420.
Bélanger, É. and Nadeau, R. (2005), ‘Political Trust and the Vote in Multiparty Elections: The Canadian Case’, European Journal of Political Research, 44(1): 121146.
Boonen, J. and Hooghe, M. (2014), ‘Do Nationalist Parties Shape or Follow Sub-national Identities? A Panel Analysis on the Rise of the Nationalist Party in Flanders (Belgium), 2006–2011’, Nations and Nationalism, 20(1): 5679.
Citrin, J. (1974), ‘The Political Relevance of Trust in Government’, American Political Science Review, 68(3): 973988.
Dandoy, R. (2014), ‘The Impact of Government Participation and Prospects on Party Policy Preferences in Belgium’, Government and Opposition, 49(4): 630657.
Dassonneville, R. and Hooghe, M. (2012), ‘Election Forecasting under Opaque Conditions: A Model for Francophone Belgium, 1981–2010’, International Journal of Forecasting, 28(4): 777788.
Dassonneville, R., Falk Pedersen, E., Grieb, A. and Hooghe, M. (2014), Belgian Election Panel 2009–2014: Technical Report (Leuven: University of Leuven), https://lirias.kuleuven.be/bitstream/123456789/466359/1/BEP_technical+report_full.pdf.
Deschouwer, K. and Reuchamps, M. (2013), ‘The Belgian Federation at a Crossroad’, Regional and Federal Studies, 23(3): 261270.
Deschouwer, K., Delwit, P., Hooghe, M., Baudewyns, P. and Walgrave, S. (2015) (eds),Décrypter l'électeur: Le comportement électoral et les motivations de vote (Louvain: Lannoo).
Dinas, E. (2014), ‘Does Choice Bring Loyalty? Electoral Participation and the Development of Party Identification’, American Journal of Political Science, 25(2): 449465.
Fiorina, M.P. (1978), ‘Economic Retrospective Voting in American National Elections: A Micro-Analysis’, American Journal of Political Science, 22(2): 426443.
Frankel, L.L. and Hillygus, D.S. (2014), ‘Looking Beyond Demographics: Panel Attrition in the ANES and GSS’, Political Analysis, 22(3): 336353.
Gabriel, O. (2015), ‘When Representation Fails: Behavioural Reactions to Perceived Failure of Political Representation in France and Germany’, in T. Poguntke, S. Roßteutscher, R. Schmitt-Beck and S. Zmerli (eds), Citizenship and Democracy in an Era of Crisis (London: Routledge): 5374.
Hetherington, M.J. (1998), ‘The Political Relevance of Political Trust’, American Political Science Review, 92(4): 791808.
Hetherington, M.J. (1999), ‘The Effect of Political Trust on the Presidential Vote, 1968–1996’, American Political Science Review, 93(2): 311326.
Hooghe, M. (2012), ‘The Political Crisis in Belgium (2007–2011): A Federal System Without Federal Loyalty’, Representation, 48(1): 131138.
Hooghe, M. and Dassonneville, R. (2014), ‘Party Members as an Electoral Linking Mechanism: An Election Forecasting Model for Political Parties in Belgium, 1981–2010’, Party Politics, 20(3): 368380.
Hooghe, M., Marien, S. and Pauwels, T. (2011), ‘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.
Hooghe, M., Jacobs, L. and Claes, E. (2015), ‘Enduring Gender Bias in Reporting on Political Elite Positions: Media Coverage of Female MPs in Belgian News Broadcasts (2003–2011)’, International Journal of Press/Politics, 20(4): 395414.
Ivarsflaten, E. (2007), ‘What Unites Right-Wing Populists in Western Europe?: Re-Examining Grievance Mobilization Models in Seven Successful Cases’, Comparative Political Studies, 41(1): 323.
Lewis-Beck, M.S. and Stegmaier, M. (2013), ‘The VP-Function Revisited: A Survey of the Literature on Vote and Popularity Functions after Over 40 Years’, Public Choice, 157(3–4): 367385.
McAllister, I. (1982), ‘The Australian Democrats: Protest Vote or Portent of Realignment?’, Politics, 17(1): 6873.
Marien, S. (2011), ‘Measuring Political Trust across Time and Space’, in S. Zmerli and M. Hooghe (eds), Political Trust: Why Context Matters (Colchester: ECPR Press): 1346.
Miller, A.H. and Listhaug, O. (1990), ‘Political Parties and Confidence in Government: A Comparison of Norway, Sweden and the United States’, British Journal of Political Science, 20(3): 357386.
Mudde, C. (2007), Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Noelle-Neumann, E. (1982), Die Schweigespirale. Öffentliche Meinung, unsere soziale Haut (Frankfurt: Ullstein).
Norris, P. (1999) (ed.), Critical Citizens: Global Support for Democratic Government (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Pauwels, T. (2011), ‘Explaining the Strange Decline of the Populist Radical Right Vlaams Belang in Belgium: The Impact of Permanent Opposition’, Acta Politica, 46(1): 6082.
Rabinowitz, G. and Macdonald, S.E. (1989), ‘A Directional Theory of Issue Voting’, American Political Science Review, 83(1): 93121.
Rooduijn, M., de Lange, S. and van der Brug, W. (2014), ‘A Populist Zeitgeist? Programmatic Contagion by Populist Parties in Western Europe’, Party Politics, 20(4): 563575.
Schumacher, G. and Rooduijn, M. (2013), ‘Sympathy for the “Devil”? Voting for Populists in the 2006 and 2010 Dutch General Elections’, Electoral Studies, 32(1): 124133.
Thijssen, P. (2001), ‘Extreem-rechts en Politieke Aliënatie: Een Causaal Mysterie? Case-study: Het Vlaams Blok’, Tijdschrift voor Sociologie, 22(3): 243273.
Vandecasteele, L. and Debels, A. (2007), ‘Attrition in Panel Data: The Effectiveness of Weighting’, European Sociological Review, 23(1): 8197.
Van der Brug, W. (2003), ‘How the LPF Fuelled Discontent: Empirical Tests of Explanations of LPF Support’, Acta Politica, 38(1): 89106.
Van der Brug, W. and Fennema, M. (2003), ‘Protest or Mainstream? How the European Anti-immigrant Parties Developed into two Separate Groups by 1999’, European Journal of Political Research, 42(1): 5576.
Van der Brug, W., Fennema, M. and Tillie, J. (2000), ‘Anti-Immigrant Parties in Europe: Ideological or Protest Vote?’, European Journal of Political Research, 37(1): 77102.
Van der Eijk, C. and Niemöller, B. (2008), ‘Recall Accuracy and its Determinants’, in K. Arzheimer and J. Evans (eds), Electoral Behavior: Volume 4: Debates and Methodology (Los Angeles: Sage): 232280.
Van Kessel, S. (2011), ‘Explaining the Electoral Performance of Populist Parties: The Netherlands as a Case Study’, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, 12(1): 6888.
Van Spanje, J. (2011), ‘The Wrong and the Right: A Comparative Analysis of “Anti-Immigration” and “Far Right” Parties’, Government and Opposition, 46(3): 293320.
Recommend this journal

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

Government and Opposition
  • ISSN: 0017-257X
  • EISSN: 1477-7053
  • URL: /core/journals/government-and-opposition
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

Hooghe and Dassonneville supplementary material
Online Appendices

 Word (41 KB)
41 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 79
Total number of PDF views: 489 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1139 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.