Differences in patterns of moderate and radical right voting in Western Europe
Kirill Zhirkov’s report at the regular LCSR seminar
In his research Kirill tries to answer the question whether the radical right parties simply develop an extreme interpretation of the traditional right agenda or represent a new phenomenon. What is the difference between reasons for voting the moderate and radical right-wing parties?
Theoretical framework of the project is based on several fundamental models of electoral behavior, such as sociological theory of electoral behavior by Lazarsfeld, Michigan model by Campbell, rational choice theories and protest vote model. On the basis of these theories Kirill posed a set of hypotheses, which were tested using European Social Survey data.
For analysis Kirill used data concerning countries in which radical right parties exist and some citizens casted their votes for them in elections. The data collected after national election in every particular country ( 32 elections in 13 countries) were chosen for analysis.
Belonging of elected party to the left or right ideology was used as a dependent variable. Two multilevel binomial logistic models with different dependent variables were tested. Kirill used moderate right voting for the first model and radical right voting for the second. In both cases “left-to-center” parties were used as a reference category. The main indicators for a party belonging to moderate right wing were the following: membership in the European People’s Party political alliance, membership in national level right-wing electoral alliances and expert surveys. To classify party as a radical right only expert surveys were used.
Results of the analysis confirm all of the assumptions of classical theories. Identification with political right is the strongest predictor in both models. Opposition to income redistribution and religious networks are strong and stable predictors for moderate right voting. Low political trust and anti-immigrant attitudes are more important for radical right voting. So the electorate of radical right parties is a specific group of people, usually young males, with anti-elitist and anti-immigrant attitudes.
Kirill also supposed that conventional view on political space with orthogonal “left-right” and “authoritarian-libertarian” axis should be revised. These dimensions are definitely related. The dichotomy may be metaphorically described on the example of characters from popular TV show “House M.D.”. The main character Dr. House represents rational, even cynical position and is unconcerned about vulnerable social groups. By contrast Dr. Cameron really cares of discrimination of ethnic minorities and poor people, which is inherent for left ideology.
After presentation professor Eduard Ponarin suggested to test one more model with comparison of reasons for voting for moderate and radical right parties. According to Eduard it could enrich the analysis with more novelty.
by Irina Vartanova