Success of Populism in Western Europe and Germany: Electoral Effects of Parties’ and Voters’ Repositioning
What drives voters’ shifts? Is it the change in political supply, or is it rather the change of voters’ preferences? The question is motivated by the recent German experience of the success of the right-wing populist party AfD. How much do supply and demand factors drive vote switching in general and switching to right-wing populist parties in particular? The analyses put Germany in the wider European context and adopts a dual-track perspective by examining the specific case of Germany in parallel with a broader perspective at Western Europe overall for the period 1996 to 2017. It combines micro-level data on electoral behavior with party-level data on political supply using the Manifesto Dataset. Results suggest that it is more the preference change of voters that drives switching than the change in political supply.
Bernhard Weßels is Acting Director of the WZB Research Unit Democracy and Democratization.
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