The Illusion of Radical Right Partisan Stability: How Party Positioning Affects Radical Right Voting in Germany

75 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2019

See all articles by Winston Chou

Winston Chou

Princeton University, Department of Politics

Rafaela M. Dancygier

Princeton University - Department of Political Science; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Naoki Egami

Princeton University, Department of Politics

Amaney Jamal

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: December 4, 2018

Abstract

How stable is support for radical right parties? In one view, radical right voters are antisystem voters, beyond capture by established parties. In another, they form frustrated issue publics, gravitating towards parties that represent their preferences. We evaluate these hypotheses in Germany, where the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is presently the largest opposition party. Using an original panel survey, we show that AfD voters resemble stable partisans with entrenched anti-establishment views. Yet this consistency does not simply reflect antisystem voting, but is also rooted in unchanging party-issue positioning: our experimental evidence reveals that many AfD voters change allegiances when established parties accommodate their preferences. Gridlocked party positioning thus gives rise to the “illusion” of radical right partisan stability. We further demonstrate that, while mainstream parties can attract radical right voters via restrictive immigration policies, they alienate their own voters in doing so -- suggesting the status quo is an equilibrium.

Keywords: radical right, populism, political parties, elections, voting behavior, Germany, Alternative für Deutschland

Suggested Citation

Chou, Winston and Dancygier, Rafaela M. and Egami, Naoki and Jamal, Amaney, The Illusion of Radical Right Partisan Stability: How Party Positioning Affects Radical Right Voting in Germany (December 4, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3411075 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3411075

Winston Chou

Princeton University, Department of Politics ( email )

Princeton, NJ
United States

Rafaela M. Dancygier (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States
609-258-4807 (Phone)

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Naoki Egami

Princeton University, Department of Politics ( email )

Princeton, NJ
United States

Amaney Jamal

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States

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