Wednesday, 23 January 2019
The “Regio-Cultural” Roots of the German AfD Vote
A common project by Hanno Hilbig, Daniel Ziblatt and Daniel Bischof
While an enormous body of research investigates what drives radical right voting, we know comparatively little about the cultural roots of this phenomenon. We add to this research agenda by investigating how “cultural remoteness” of regions affects voting for the radical right in Germany. We argue that voters who live in districts which are culturally more distinct and exclusive are more likely to vote for radical right parties. Cultural remoteness strengthens feelings of local identity and the need to isolate oneself from global developments. We approximate cultural remoteness by relying on linguistic micro-data from a unique dialectic survey conducted in the 19th century in 45,000 German schools. Using voting results on the district level we then predict voting for the Alternative für Deutschland and the Nazi party in 7 elections. In line with our theoretical argument, we find that cultural remoteness predicts radical right voting in Germany. Our findings have important implications for studies of extremism and the radical right.