Power to the People Man: can issue salience explain the gender gap in populist right voting?

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While the political representation of women is increasing, there are still several areas of the political landscape where women remain underrepresented. One of these areas is the vote for populist radical right parties. Just like women, the populist radical right is gaining political influence. However, these two trends do not seem to be working together. Across the voter base of almost all populist radical right parties, women are significantly underrepresented. Despite plenty of efforts to uncover what causes this so-called gender gap in the populist radical right vote, current explanations fall short of providing a comprehensive answer. Research has found that women do not tend to be less anti-immigrant, less antiauthoritarianism or less populist than men, meaning the gender gap cannot be explained by political attitudes. This thesis turns to a difference in issue salience between men and women as a possible explanation for the gender gap. Using data from the European Social Survey (2018) covering 19 countries, this thesis does not find evidence that the gender gap in the populist radical right vote is caused by a gender gap in issue salience. The research does, however, prove a useful starting point for further research on issue salience in relation to the gender gap in the populist radical right vote.
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