Fuzzy or Veering? Party Positioning, Voter Congruence, and Electoral Support for Radical Right Parties in Western Europe

Thursday, July 13, 2017
JWS - Room J15 (J375) (University of Glasgow)
Jan Rovny , Science Po
Jonathan Polk , Politcal Science and Centre for European Research, University of Gothenburg
Do radical right parties present blurry economic stances, or have they claried their positions while moving towards the economic left? This paper questions the strategic behavior of radical right parties in western Europe. We show that although expert placements of this party family on the economic dimension have become more centrist over time, the uncertainty surrounding these placements continues to be higher for the radical right than any other party family in Europe. We then move on to examine to what extent voter-party congruence on redistribution, immigration, and other issues of social lifestyle predict an individual's propensity to vote for the radical right compared to other parties. Although redistribution is the component of economic policy where the radical right has most substantially moved to the centre, our ndings indicate that it remains party-voter congruence on immigration that drives support for radical right parties, while congruence levels for redistribution has an insignicant eect. The paper concludes that while radical right parties seem to have included some clearly left-leaning economic proposals, which shifted the general expert views of these parties to the economic center, their overall economic roles remain as blurry as ever.