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Room for Realignment: The Working-Class Sympathy for Sweden Democrats

  • Maria Oskarson and Marie Demker

How is it that the Swedish populist nationalist party the Sweden Democrats receives its strongest support from the established working class, in spite of the high degree of class voting and left–right mobilization which is known to characterize Swedish politics? Based on surveys from the SOM (Society, Opinion, Media) Institute as well as the Swedish National Elections Studies, this article shows that this is not a result of increasing anti-immigrant attitudes in the working class or of decreasing left–right polarization among voters. Rather, we present the argument that the weakening alignment between the working class and the Social Democratic Party and the weakened left–right polarization between the main parties have created a structure which has left room for a realignment between large parts of the working class and the Sweden Democrats along the alternative underlying ideological dimension of authoritarianism/libertarianism.

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Maria Oskarson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. Contact email:

Marie Demker is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg. Contact email:

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