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Do voters polarize when radical parties enter parliament?


Bischof, Daniel; Wagner, Markus (2019). Do voters polarize when radical parties enter parliament? American Journal of Political Science, 63(4):888-904.

Abstract

Do voters polarize ideologically when radical views gain political legitimacy, or does the rise of radical voices merely reflect societal conflict? We argue that elite polarization as signaled by radical parties' first entrance into parliament leads to voter divergence. Immediately after the election, legitimization and backlash effects mean that voters on both ideological sides move toward the extremes. In the longer term, this polarization is solidified because of radical parties' parliamentary presence. A panel study of Dutch voters shows that the 2002 parliamentary entrance of a radical‐right party indeed led to immediate ideological polarization across the political spectrum. Estimating time‐series cross‐sectional models on Eurobarometer data from 17 countries (1973–2016) shows an additional long‐term impact of radical‐right party entry on polarization. The presence of radical voices on the right has polarizing effects, illustrating how such institutional recognition and legitimization can have a far‐reaching impact on society.

Abstract

Do voters polarize ideologically when radical views gain political legitimacy, or does the rise of radical voices merely reflect societal conflict? We argue that elite polarization as signaled by radical parties' first entrance into parliament leads to voter divergence. Immediately after the election, legitimization and backlash effects mean that voters on both ideological sides move toward the extremes. In the longer term, this polarization is solidified because of radical parties' parliamentary presence. A panel study of Dutch voters shows that the 2002 parliamentary entrance of a radical‐right party indeed led to immediate ideological polarization across the political spectrum. Estimating time‐series cross‐sectional models on Eurobarometer data from 17 countries (1973–2016) shows an additional long‐term impact of radical‐right party entry on polarization. The presence of radical voices on the right has polarizing effects, illustrating how such institutional recognition and legitimization can have a far‐reaching impact on society.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:1 October 2019
Deposited On:05 Aug 2019 11:49
Last Modified:19 Oct 2019 01:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0092-5853
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12449

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