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The class basis of the cleavage between the New Left and the radical right: An analysis for Austria, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland
Title of the book
Class Politics and the Radical Right
This chapter argues that the electoral competition between the New Left and the Radical Right is best understood as a cultural divide anchored in different class constituencies. Based on individual-level data from the European Social Survey, we analyze the links between voters' class position, their economic and cultural preferences and their party choice for four small and affluent European countries. We find a striking similarity in the class pattern across countries. Everywhere, the New Left attracts disproportionate support from socio-cultural professionals and presents a clear-cut middle-class profile, whereas the Radical Right is most successful among production and service workers and receives least support from professionals. In general, the Radical Right depends on the votes of lowereducated men and older citizens and has turned into a new type of working-class party. However, its success within the working-class is not due to economic, but to cultural issues. The voters of the Radical Right collide with those of the New Left over a cultural conflict of identity and community - and not over questions of redistribution. A full-grown cleavage has thus emerged in the four countries under study, separating a libertarian-universalistic pole from an authoritarian-communitarian pole and going along with a process of class realignment.
class voting, Radical Right, New Left, cleavage, realignment
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