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Backlund, A. & Jungar, A.-C. (2019). Populist Radical Right Party-Voter Policy Representation in Western Europe. Representation: Journal of Representative Democracy, 55(4), 393-413
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Populist Radical Right Party-Voter Policy Representation in Western Europe
2019 (English)In: Representation: Journal of Representative Democracy, ISSN 0034-4893, E-ISSN 1749-4001, Vol. 55, no 4, p. 393-413Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study we assess policy representation by populist radical right (PRR) parties in ten West European countries. Going beyond aggregate left-right or socio-cultural (GAL-TAN) dimensions of political conflict, we study representation on policy issues related to the PRR parties’ core ideological features nativism, populism, and authoritarianism. Analysing data from party expert and voter surveys, we find that the PRR parties provide largely unique policy positions that are congruent with their voters’ preferences in terms of their opposition to immigration and the European Union. By contrast, the parties are less representative in terms of their value conservative and authoritarian positions on gay rights and civil liberties. The findings have relevance for our understanding of party strategy, voter behaviour, and the dimensionality of political competition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
issue congruence, party strategy, Policy representation, populist radical right
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-39356 (URN)10.1080/00344893.2019.1674911 (DOI)2-s2.0-85074053392 (Scopus ID)
Projects
From the Margins to the Mainstream
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2019-11-08 Created: 2019-11-08 Last updated: 2019-12-17Bibliographically approved
Backlund, A. (2016). Isolation and Policy Co-Optation: The Path Dependency of the Swedish Cordon Sanitaire. In: : . Paper presented at The annual conference of the Swedish Political Science Association (SWEPSA) in Visby, October 19-21, 2016.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Isolation and Policy Co-Optation: The Path Dependency of the Swedish Cordon Sanitaire
2016 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As populist radical right parties have become electorally successful throughout Europe, mainstream parties have been adopting more restrictive immigration policies in order to win back voters, in what has been labelled a "contagion of the right". Sweden, however, has been a deviant case both in a comparative European context and in relation to influential theories of party competition. Despite the electoral threat from a growing radical right party (the Sweden Democrats) during the last decade, no other party engaged in any significant policy co-optation prior to the 2014 elections. In this paper I consider multiple explanations for this deviance derived from empirical and theoretical literature and mapped onto an analytical framework distinguishing between the party goals policy, office, and votes. The empirical material consists of survey data, statements from party representatives, and parliamentary voting patterns. I find the goal-oriented explanations to be only partially satisfactory, and go on to explore the possibility that the deviance can be explained by the institutionalisation of the Swedish cordon sanitaire – the commitment by all other parties to politically isolate the Sweden Democrats. The path dependency of the cordon sanitaire, I argue, became a behavioural constraint that effectively hindered parties from legitimately engaging in the co-optation of SD policies, until it was removed by the external shock of the 2015 "refugee crisis".

Keywords
Historical Institutionalism, Path Dependence, Radical Right, Party Politics, Immigration Policy
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32320 (URN)
Conference
The annual conference of the Swedish Political Science Association (SWEPSA) in Visby, October 19-21, 2016
Available from: 2017-03-29 Created: 2017-03-29 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
Backlund, A. (2013). Placing radical right parties in political space: Four methods applied to the case of the Sweden Democrats. Huddinge: Södertörns högskola
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Placing radical right parties in political space: Four methods applied to the case of the Sweden Democrats
2013 (English)Report (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Within political science, there are numerous methodological approaches to estimating the policy positions of political actors. Such methods are often used to examine party systems as a whole, but little research has been done on testing them in the context of parties that deviate from the political mainstream, such as populist radical right (PRR) parties. This study evaluates four common approaches, (1) expert surveys, (2) manual content analysis, (3) dictionary-based content analysis, and (4) Wordfish, by applying them to the PRR party the Sweden Democrats. Election manifestos, being considered the most authoritative statements of official party policy, are used as the empirical basis of the content analyses. Results show an overall high degree of convergent validity along economic and socio-cultural policy dimensions, but also suggest an advantage for the more qualitative methods 1 and 2, as the frequency-based methods (3 and 4) face problems with the context-dependence of words, linguistic volatility and data scarcity on issues of low salience, difficulties that are related to the characteristics of the Sweden Democrats. Manual content analysis and expert surveys do not face these issues, but instead need to deal with reliability and bias. If the former compensates by averaging multiple codings and the latter focuses on clearly defined policy-specific dimensions, these two methods – ideally in combination – are more appropriate than frequency-based approaches in the analysis of parties similar to the Sweden Democrats.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2013. p. 38
Series
PESO Research Reports ; 1:2013
Keywords
Radical right; Populism; Policy positions; Expert Survey; Content analysis; Wordfish
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-20326 (URN)
Available from: 2013-12-03 Created: 2013-12-03 Last updated: 2017-09-25Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-4717-6842

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