Fear, Anger, and Voting for the Far Right: Evidence from the November 13, 2015 Paris Terror Attacks

54 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2018

See all articles by Pavlos Vasilopoulos

Pavlos Vasilopoulos

Sciences Po - Center for Political Research (CEVIPOF)

George E. Marcus

Williams College

Nicholas A. Valentino

Independent

Martial Foucault

University of Montreal; Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)

Date Written: July 5, 2018

Abstract

The conjecture that negative emotions underpin support for far right politics in Europe is common among pundits and scholars. However, the conventional account holds that authoritarian populists catalyze public anxiety about the changing social order and/or deteriorating national economic conditions, and this anxiety subsequently drives up support for the far right. We propose that while emotions do indeed play an independent causal role in support for far right parties and policies, that support is more likely built upon the public’s anger rather than fear. This article explores the relative impact of fear and anger in reaction to the 2015 Paris terror attacks on the propensity to vote for the French far right party, the Front National, in the 2015 Regional Elections. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we find anger is associated with voting for the FN, while fear is associated with voting against the FN. Moreover, anger boosts the FN vote most powerfully among far right and authoritarian voters. On the other hand, fear reduces support for the far right among those same groups.

Keywords: political psychology, emotions, voting behavior, France

Suggested Citation

Vasilopoulos, Pavlos and Marcus, George E. and Valentino, Nicholas A. and Foucault, Martial, Fear, Anger, and Voting for the Far Right: Evidence from the November 13, 2015 Paris Terror Attacks (July 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3208577 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3208577

Pavlos Vasilopoulos (Contact Author)

Sciences Po - Center for Political Research (CEVIPOF) ( email )

98 rue de l'Université
Paris, 75007
France

George E. Marcus

Williams College ( email )

Williamstown, MA 01267
United States

Nicholas A. Valentino

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Martial Foucault

University of Montreal ( email )

Political Science Department
C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3T 1B9, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)

2020 rue University, 25th floor
Montreal H3C 3J7, Quebec
Canada

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