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Assessing the effect of neighbourhood context on Populist Radical Right voting: a four-country comparison of France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK

Abstract : Why is Populist Radical Right (PRR) support much stronger in some areas than others? Research into Radical Right voting has generally focused on individual level and, to a lesser extent, ecological correlates as their explanans. A number of pieces of research have employed multi-level models to combine contextual and individual factors, both in country studies and comparative work. However, most if not all of the comparative research has remained at a relatively high spatial level – regions or constituencies – and even case studies have tended to use higher aggregations, or focused on municipalities or communes in a region of the country. While these studies have yielded important insights, the literature is still short of an encompassing theoretical and empirical understanding of the role of context in PRR support. We argue that individual motivations to prefer such parties partly feed on local living conditions, or are catalysed by them. We employ a unique comparative and geocoded dataset that allows to investigate the role of voters’ context, and its interplay with perceptions and attitudes, in a finegrained way in four Western European democracies. Using a new comparative survey fielded in the 2017 post-election period in four countries as part of the ORA ‘Subnational Context and Radical Right Support in Europe’ (SCoRE) project, this paper locates voters at a much lower spatial level – electoral wards in the UK, Tri-IRIS in France, geographic grids in Germany, and neighbourhoods in the Netherlands, corresponding to local area (LAU) and ‘district’ (NUTS3) units – to allow a much more precise measure of local context. Geospatial location of the survey respondents represents a significant step forward in understanding the role of ‘neighbourhood’ in vote choice, for example allowing the combination of individual perceptions of local government, administration, and infrastructure with official measures of local socio-economic conditions. The analysis first assesses the extent to which different geospatial levels account globally for variation in Radical Right support. How important is context, and at which level? It then looks at the specific socio-economic and -cultural conditions at these different levels, which pick up this variance, in particular ethnic / immigrant population and deprivation. By doing so, it not only looks at the presence of ethno-religious outgroups or immigrants, but also expands the scope of analysis by looking at the role of regional deprivation. In particular, it assesses the validity of the so-called ‘halo effect’, whereby adjacent ethnic / immigrant populations associate more strongly with Radical Right support than more proximate groups. Thirdly, it aims to expand our understanding of the causal mechanisms that link conditions to electoral outcomes, looking at the extent to which ‘objective’ context effects are mediated or moderated by ‘subjective’ perceptions, and how these in turn interact with the classic social-psychological drivers of Radical Right support – ethnocentrism, populism, authoritarianism.
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Contributor : Gilles Ivaldi <>
Submitted on : Thursday, August 23, 2018 - 10:41:42 AM
Last modification on : Monday, December 14, 2020 - 5:27:13 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01860247, version 1


Carl Berning, Jocelyn Evans, Myles Gould, Eelco Harteveld, Gilles Ivaldi. Assessing the effect of neighbourhood context on Populist Radical Right voting: a four-country comparison of France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. ECPR General Conference, European Consortium for Political Research, Aug 2018, Hamburg, Germany. ⟨halshs-01860247⟩



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