Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Jennifer Fitzgerald

Second Advisor

E. Scott Adler

Third Advisor

Terra McKinnish


Non--traditional parties have had newfound success across European democracies contributing to increasing electoral volatility. Drawing from the literature on social movements, voting for an unconventional party can be a form of contentious politics. Support for non--mainstream parties is the institutional manifestation of the factors that contribute to social movements. Perceptions of political power and grievances extend beyond non--institutional actions, shaping how individuals cast their ballot, with the inefficacious and dissatisfied voters engaging in electoral disorder. An attitude--ideology approach to non--traditional party support is tested with Bayesian inference using Dutch Parliamentary Election Studies from 1977 to 2006. Voters' perceived influence in and satisfaction with government are important factors for deciding between a mainstream and outsider party, supporting a connection between unconventional behavior outside institutions and within the electoral process. When at the ballot box, non--ideological factors have the potential to alter party choice, with the alienated and disaffected portion of the electorate behaving differently than the efficacious and satisfied.