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Are the Supporters of Populist Parties Loyal Voters? Dissatisfaction and Stable Voting for Populist Parties

  • Remko Voogd (a1) and Ruth Dassonneville (a2)


Scholars of electoral behaviour regularly link political dissatisfaction to two types of behaviour: voting for populist parties and unstable voting behaviour. It is therefore not surprising that the electorates of populist parties are generally assumed to be rather volatile. In this article, we argue that this is not necessarily the case – in particular in a context of increasingly strong and viable populist parties. We make use of data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems project to show that voters for populist parties are neither more nor less volatile than voters for mainstream parties. Political dissatisfaction among voters for populist parties even increases the likelihood of stable voting for populist parties. The supply of populist parties further conditions the stability of the populist vote, as voters in systems with established populist parties are more likely to vote stably for populist parties. Finally, we find that in a context of strong and stable populist parties, the effect of political satisfaction on vote switching is somewhat reduced.

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