Voting Against the Establishment: The Effect of Government Composition on Voting for Challenger Parties
Conférence de Tarik Abou-Chadi (Humboldt-Universität Berlin & Universität Zurich)
Thursday 30 November 2017 (16h00 - 18h00) - Géopolis - 2208
In this paper we investigate how the composition of governments affects voting for challenger parties. The literature has identified two main demand side explanations for the success of challenger parties such as the populist radical right: their policy positions and emphasis as well as protest voting. While a growing body of research has additionally identified supply side context conditions under which the policy appeals of challenger parties are more successful, no such comparative work exists for protest voting and thus the anti-establishment appeal of challenger parties. Here, we argue that the composition of governments plays a crucialrole for challenger parties’ capacity to mobilize anti-elite sentiment and investigate two mechanisms: (1) representation and (2) contestation. If voters feel that (1) their policy preferences are not represented in government and (2) that changing their vote has only little effect on the composition of governments then this will increase the credibility of challenger parties’ anti-establishment appeal. Analyzing data on voting behavior from the CSES for 13 countries between 1996 and 2011, we find that the composition of governments indeed affects individuals’ likelihood of voting for a challenger party. Our findings thus constitute an important contribution to the literature on challenger parties as they demonstrate that supply side conditions for their success go beyond the policy positions offered and issues emphasized in an electoral campaign.