In 2013, the "Alternative for Germany" started out as a soft-eurosceptic vehicle for disappointed centre-right voters and politicians. Since then, it has changed beyond all recognition. In a recent contribution for Electoral Studies, Carl Berning and I trace the changing motives and composition of the AfD's electorate using data that span the whole of the 2013-2017 electoral cycle. Our main finding is that anti-immigration sentiment, which had no effect on the AfD vote during the first two years, is now by far the most important predictor.
The full article is ungated until July 5, 2019. After that date, the pre-print (authors' version) is still freely available from my personal website.
Arzheimer, Kai and Carl Berning. “How the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and their voters veered to the radical right, 2013-2017.” Electoral Studies (2019): forthcoming. doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2019.04.004
As part of our departmental seminar series, Take Sipma (RadboudUniversity Nijmegen) will give a talk on
Precarious work and voting for populist radical right parties
coauthored by Prof. Dr. Marcel Lubbers and Dr. Niels Spierings
(June 21st, 6 pm, GFG 01-611)
An increasing number of people are situated in a precarious labour market position, due to macro-economic changes, like globalization and the economic crisis. In this study, we examined to what extent precarious labour market positions affect the popularity of populist radical right (PRR) parties. Using Losers of Globalization and Ethnic Competition Theory, and as has been supposed in non-academic debates as well, we expected that people in a precarious position are more likely to vote for PRRs. We tested this expectation using seven waves of the European Social Survey in 12 Western European countries from 2002 to 2014. Contrasting all current thoughts about the topic, our results have a surprising outcome: there is no significant influence of a precarious labour market position on populist radical right voting. Instead, it is the populist radical left that appeals stronger to people in a precarious position. Even though it has been suggested that increasing economic insecurities and precariousness induce feelings of political discontent and ethnic threat, precariousness is not systematically translated into a vote a for the populist radical right.
As always, all staff and students are cordially invited.
With the next General election on the horizon, it is about time that German Politics' special issue on the 2013 election is now out electronically. My contribution looks at the development of party identification from 1977 to 2013, and on its impact on voting behaviour in 2013. If you don't have a subscription for the journal, the (very similar) pre-publication version is on my website. And here is the abstract:
Using new data for the 1977–2012 period, this article shows that dealignment has halted during the last decade amongst older and better educated West German voters, and that party identification is now more widespread than it was in the 1990s in the east. For voters who identified with one of the relevant parties at the time of the 2013 election, their vote choice was more or less a foregone conclusion, as candidates and issues played only a minor role for this group. A detailed analysis of leftist voters shows that supporters of the Greens, the Left, and the SPD have broadly similar preferences but diverging partisan identities. Even amongst western voters of the Left, most respondents claim to be identifiers. This suggests that the fragmentation of the left is entrenched, and that ‘agenda’ policies have triggered a realignment.
As part of our departmental seminar series, Professor Takis S. Pappas will give a talk on
Why Greece failed, and what are the lessons learned?
(November 25, 6 pm, GFG 01-701)
As always, all staff and students are cordially invited.
Greece has been in a deep economic, political and social crisis at least 2009, and the hopes for its recovery and return to normalcy are at the moment rather dim. Two interrelated questions become urgent: What went wrong in Greece, when things for many decades had seemed to be going right? And how did contemporary Greek democracy become possible and manage to sustain itself for almost three decades? The first question calls for an explanation of the logic that led Greece to abandon a liberal political arrangement for another that eventually led to disaster; the second question requires an examination of the particular mechanisms that enabled the country’s overall political arrangement to work for nearly three decades. It will be shown that Greece’s failure is the outcome of a long process during which populism prevailed over liberalism and became hegemonic in society. Analysis will be based on a novel understanding of populism as democratic illiberalism, which, not only is inimical to liberal democracy, but may also contaminate a country’s entire party and political system through the various micro-mechanisms it helps develop. Above all, persisting populism is a huge obstacle to Greece’s current efforts to overcome crisis.
Takis S. Pappas is the author of Populism and Crisis Politics in Greece (Palgrave Macmillan 2014) and co-editor of European Populism in the Shadow of the Great Recession (ECPR Press 2015). He is currently working on a new book project titled “Democratic Illiberalism: How Populism Grows”
Staff and students are cordially invited to attend the next event in our staff seminar series. Richard Johnston (UBC, Vancouver) will give a talk on campaign effects in the US, Canada, and Germany on Wednesday May 20, 6pm in room 01-611 (Georg-Forster-Gebäude).
Richard Johnston is one of the world's leading experts on electoral behaviour and electoral campaigns. He holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Opinion, Elections, and Representation at UBC and is also a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the EUI (Florence)
Elections are a defining feature of representative democracy, and electoral campaigns are critical for accountability and for signals about policy. But so far the research record yields very partial views of whether - or how - campaigns work. Broadly, two schools can be identified. On one side, elections are driven by predictable "fundamental" forces that campaigns merely activate. On the other, campaigns do more: they are critical to the result and produce history in their own right. The fundamentalist perspective is essentially benign. More intense campaigns bring out more voters. Negative claims are more truthful than positive ones; indeed the increased volume and negativity of campaigns has compensated for the decline in substantive news coverage. Elections without campaigns would be far more random events than are elections with them. On the rival view, campaigns are sites for character assassination if not outright manipulation. These fears are amplified by technological developments, including the rise of social media and "big data," and extend even to the most traditional form of campaign effort, doorstep mobilization. Can these competing claims both be true? If so what is their relative weight, and how are those weights contingent on institutional and party-system context?
Within less than two years of being founded by disgruntled members of the governing CDU, the newly formed Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has already performed extraordinarily well in the 2013 general election, the 2014 EP election, and a string of state elections. Highly unusually by German standards, it campaigned for an end to all efforts to save the euro and argued for a reconfiguration of Germany’s foreign policy. This seems to chime with the recent surge in far-right voting in Western Europe, and the AfD was subsequently described as right-wing populist and Europhobe.
The full paper has just appeared in the recent issue of West European Politics (electronically and in print). The ungated pre-print version is still available here.
On February 4, 6pm (room 01-701 GFG), Dr John Bartle (Essex) will speak on "The Policy Mood in Britain and Spain". His talk is based on his current BA-funded project and will describe the left-right movement of the electorate over time, its causes and consequences in terms of election outcomes.
As always, all are welcome, and students in particular are encouraged to attend.
John Bartle is a Reader in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. He specialises in the study of voting behaviour, public opinion and political communications. For more information see his Website
Within less than two years of being founded by disgruntled members of the governing CDU, the newly-formed Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has already performed extraordinary well in the 2013 General election, the 2014 EP election, and a string of state elections. Highly unusually by German standards, it campaigned for an end to all efforts to save the Euro and argued for a re-configuration of Germany's foreign policy. This seems to chime with the recent surge in far right voting in Western Europe, and the AfD was subsequently described as right-wing populist and europhobe.
On the basis of the party's manifesto and of hundreds of statements the party has posted on the internet, this article demonstrates that the AfD does indeed occupy a position at the far-right of the German party system, but it is currently neither populist nor does it belong to the family of Radical Right parties. Moreover, its stance on European Integration is more nuanced than expected and should best be classified as soft eurosceptic.
The full article will appear in the 2015 volume of West European Politics. The author's version is available here.
Localism has become an important issue in British Politics. Previous research has shown that the objective geographical distance between voters and candidates played an important role in the 2010 General Election and the 2013 English local elections even when party attachment and incumbency were controlled for.
Thanks to the generosity of the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, we are now able to re-interview 11,000 voters that have previously been surveyed by Rosie Campbell and Phil Cowley to see if localism still matters in the thoroughly changed context of the 2015 General Election.
How important is 'localness' for candidates? Using an unique data set on the English Country Council elections, we estimate the effect of physical distance between voters and candidates on voting behaviour. The full results have just been published in Research & Politics (ungated).