The melting of the party system?

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2021-09-30
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en
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Has the electoral success of Populist Radical Right Parties (PRRPs) changed the Western European party system? Which political background and voting history do voters have that realign to PRRPs and why do they switch to PRRPs? These questions are answered in two steps, using tangible vote switchers from a combined dataset of multiple waves of the Dutch LISS panel dataset. Firstly, a descriptive analysis finds that left-wing voters are equally likely to re-align to PRRP as right-wing voters. Afterwards, a regression analysis finds that a high level of relative deprivation and high level of anti-immigration sentiment increase the respondents’ likelihood of re-alignment. However, the effect of the predictors differs per voter group. Based on these results this thesis makes a two-folded argument against Mair’s (1997) freezing thesis. Firstly, because voters of economically left-wing and right-wing parties are equally likely to re-align to PRRPs it can be argued that the economic divide Mair argues for does not hold anymore. Secondly, due to the strong predicting effect of anti-immigration sentiments and an increase thereof, it can be argued that the new cultural dimension, on which traditional parties converge in the centre, has gained electoral importance and has not been integrated in the traditional left-right competition.
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Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen
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